One quarter of play is just 10 minutes. But one bad quarter was enough to send the Pirates to the consolation side of the bracket at the Coast Christmas Classic Monday. VC was outscored by Cerritos 24-4 in the second period, turning a 20-12 advantage into a 36-24 deficit at halftime, in their 64-52 loss to the Falcons in the opening round of the tournament. Jasmyne Martin led the Pirates (8-5) with 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the game.
Ventura got off to a fast start with a Celeste Salazar 3-pointer on the opening possession of the contest, and a Martin driving lay-up on the second for an early 5-0 lead. Over the next five minutes, however, VC misses six straight field goal attempts and turned the ball over three times, scoring on a split of two free throws by Davina Del Castillo. Fortunately, Cerritos was just as cold, so when Martin scored a lay-up at the 3:52 mark, Ventura led 8-5. Martin converted a steal into another easy bucket, and Del Castillo scored inside and with two charity shots and the Pirates opened up a 14-7 margin. Nikki Puga buried a 3-pointer, and Martin completed an old-fashioned 3-point play for a 20-12 Pirate advantage at the quarter break.
Then the bottom fell out. Cerritos scored the first two buckets of the quarter before Del Castillo made a jumper with 8:02 on the clock. VC did not score for the next 6:20 as the Falcons reeled off 16 straight points. The Pirates missed nine straight field goal attempts, including four on one possession during the skid as Cerritos moved ahead by a 10-point margin. Martin broke the scoreless streak with a lay-up at the 1:42 point, but the damage had been done. Ventura trailed at halftime 36-24.
The drought continued for the Pirates in the third quarter as they missed their first five shots over 3:30 of game times. Fortunately, the Falcons were limited to a3-pointer, so when Salazar assisted a triple by Martin at the 6:29 mark, VC's deficit remained at 12 points. On the next possession, Puga assisted another Martin bucket, then Del Castillo had a steal and lay-up with 5:37 to cut the lead to 39-31. Martin netted a deuce and a triple to narrow the Falcons' lead to 43-36, but Cerritos countered with consecutive 3-pointers to end the quarter, taking a 49-36 lead to the final period.
Puga nailed back-to-back field goal attempts to open the fourth quarter, and Martin scored again to make it 49-42 with 7:13 left in the game. After two Cerritos free shots, Martin assisted a Salazar bucket then a deuce by Del Castillo as VC trailed 51-46 with 5:21 on the clock. Melissa Ohmie answered a Cerritos basket with a post move and score, and Del Castillo hit a pair of charity shots to make it 53-50 at the 4:00 mark. Cerritos turned the tide with a 3-pointer, before Ohmie connected for another bucket to make it a four-point contest with 3:29 remaining. Unfortunately, that is where the Ventura comeback stopped with Cerritos scoring the final eight points for the 64-52 final.
Del Castillo had another animal-style double-double with 16 rebounds and 13 points to go along with three steals. Salazar pulled in five boards and handed out a pair of dimes.
Ventura moves to the consolation semifinals on Tuesday Dec. 19. They will face tournament host Orange Coast College at 3:00 pm.