For the second straight night the Pirates' women's basketball team got off to a slow start, and unlike the state quarterfinals, VC could not overcome it Saturday, falling 67-52 to top-ranked Mt. San Antonio. Ventura fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter and never recovered in the Pirates' 15th appearance in the CCCAA State Final Four. Katie Campbell had 22 points and Davina Del Castillo pulled in 12 rebounds to lead Ventura, who finishes the season with a 28-6 record.
The Pirate offense missed its first 10 shots of the game as the Mounties built a 10-0 advantage five minutes into the game. Campbell got VC on the board with consecutive 3-pointers, and Del Castillo's old-fashioned 3-point play brought Ventura back to within 15-9 with 2:42 left in the quarter. Mt. SAC responded with the next nine points of the game, however, and Ventura did not have enough gas in the tank for another comeback.
Ventura's deficit grew to 19 points, 35-16, before Campbell hit another triple, Del Castillo connected from the free throw line, and Kyleesha Green completed a 3-point play. VC trailed 38-22 at halftime.
The teams traded baskets to begin the third quarter, and the Pirates pulled to within 48-36 on Green's lay-up at the 4:50 mark. VC had three possessions to close to 10 or nine points, but turned the ball over three times to end the threat. Ventura could not close the gap any further, eventually falling by the 67-52 margin.
Del Castillo totaled eight points with her 12 boards and Green and Rhiana Dougan each totaled seven points in the game. Sienna Brown had nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Campbell handed out three assists while Green a Nd Brown each had two helpers.
The Pirates close the season with a 28-6 record in the State Final Four. They won 21 straight contests heading into Saturday's loss, and claimed the program's 27th straight Western State Conference North Division title along the way with a perfect 10-0 mark.
The team now says goodbye to five sophomores, Dougan, Green, Brown, Christina Gonzalez and Mary Shirley. They leave with the program among the state's elite, and close their careers on a high note, despite Saturday's loss.
And the team also has seven freshmen, including Campbell, Del Castillo, Celeste Salazar, Avery Brunk, Melissa Ohmie, Simone Lewis and Paige Larson. The program's We Play Hard legacy has been passed to them as the program looks forward to 2017-18.