It was not pretty, but was certainly effective. The VC women's basketball team over-matched visiting Laney College 67-21 Thursday in the first round of the VC-Kiwanis Tournament of Champions. Cece Quintino made her season debut with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists while Madison Kast chipped in 13 points with seven boards. Kimora Pooler led the glass attack with nine rebounds and Alyssandra Lacanilao handed out four dimes for the Pirates (4-0).
The fast start the Pirates hoped for in their home opener did not materialize as VC missed a pair of shots and turned the ball over twice before LaDaesha Merriweather hit a turn-around jumper in the paint 2:20 into the contest for VC's first score. Quintino assisted a 3-pointer by Victoria Maciel for a second-chance bucket and Ventura led 5-1 with 6:15 left in the first quarter. The Eagles had even more difficulty finding the bottom of the net in the opening period as they missed all 11 of their shot attempts, and hit just two free throws in the first 10 minutes. Merriweather scored another bucket inside, and Yasmine Ahllamara hit a three, making up the extend of the Pirate offense in the stanza s they led 10-2 at the quarter break.
The Pirates slowly expanded their lead in the second quarter with buckets by Kast, Merriweather, and Maciel. Kast hit from range to make it 19-8 with 6:29 remaining before halftime. Both teams went scoreless for the next three minutes, however, before Quintino started to heat up. She hit a 3-pointer at the 3:22 mark to break the scoreless skid, and followed that up with two triples in the final minute for a 28-10 halftime advantage for VC.
Ventura continued to search for its offensive rhythm in the second half while the Eagles had difficulty scoring as well. After three missed shots and a pair of turnovers, the Pirates got back on the board with a Quintino jumper off an assist by Talia Taufaasau, then the two reversed roles when Taufaasau hit for three from the right wing on the next possession. Lacanilao assisted a Pooler lay-up midway through the period for a 40-14 VC lead and Nikki Puga's three at the 2:01 mark ended a 13-0 Ventura run with the score at 48-14.
VC continued to expand the advantage through the final period. Kast got untracked with six straight points, and Quintino also hit a pair of jumpers. Alaina Garcia connected from range and Alanna Jackson hit a field goal late. The Pirates pulled away for the 67-21 victory.
Ventura advances to the Kiwanis Tournament semifinals for the 22nd straight year. They will take on Cypress on Friday Nov. 22 at 7:00 pm at the Athletic Event Center. The Chargers easily dispatched of Santa Monica 92-55 in the bracket's late game. Earlier in the day, Mt. San Antonio defeated Taft 105-34 and Long Beach defeated Canyons 69-45. Other match-ups Friday include Taft vs. Canyons at 1:00 pm, Laney vs. Santa Monica at 3:00 pm, and Long Beach vs. Mt. San Antonio at 5:00 pm.