The VC women's basketball team had a game they will soon like to forget Sunday, falling in the VC-Kiwanis Tournament of Champions final 46-27 to Mt. San Antonio College. LaDaesha Merriweather had six points and nine rebounds and Nikki Puga netted seven points to lead VC. Puga and Cece Quintino were awarded all-tournament honors for the Pirates (4-2).
Midway through the opening period, Quintino hit a jumper to tie the score at 6-6 before the Mounties went on a 12-4 run over the next five minutes. Madison Cvijanovich hit a free throw with 16 seconds on the clock to make it 18-11 at the quarter break.
After a 2:23 scoring drought by both teams, the Pirates showed some signs of life. Puga made a lay-up and a three to pull VC to within two, 18-16, at the 7:11 mark but the run ended there. The score remained for over two minutes before Mt. SAC began to slowly pull away. The Mounties netted the final 10 points of the quarter to take a 28-16 lead into halftime.
VC held fast in the third quarter, although neither team was lighting up the scoreboard. Cvijanovich hit a runner at the 5:50 mark to pull Ventura to within 30-22, and Puga's two charity tosses with 2:29 on the clock made it 31-22, but the Pirates would get no closer.
Mt. SAC scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter, and VC's first score came with 2:58 left in the game on a jumper by Talia Taufaasau. Mt. SAC hit a pair of inconsequential threes in the final minute to set the final 46-27 margin.
Ventura has little time to regroup, as they will next travel to the difficult Tom Gilcrest Invitational at College of the Sequoias in Visalia. VC takes on Santa Rosa in the first game of the four-day tournament on Thursday Nov. 29 at 3:00 pm.