Photo by Bruce Jacobsen
LANCASTER - It came down to a couple of final plays, but in the end the Marauder women's basketball team couldn't hold a big third quarter lead and visiting Cypress eked out a thrilling 81-77 victory over AVC in the semifinals of the 17th Annual AVC Holiday Tournament.
The Marauders will now face Moorpark for third place in the tournament on Sunday at 1pm and the Chargers will face Mt. SAC in the title game at 3pm. Mt. SAC is seeking its fourth consecutive championship.
Shantanel Bivens, who posted a career-high with 21 rebounds on Friday against Pierce, had an impressive encore as she finished with 18 points and 19 rebounds. Deja Smith nearly had a triple-double by finishing with a team-high 19 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
AVC knew it had to shoot well from the perimeter as Cypress packed the key with its patented zone defense. The Marauders responded with one of their best shooting night from 3-point range connecting on 13, including five from Brieanna Perkins and four each from Smith and Fiona Ferry. AVC seemingly began to pull away in the third quarter as it hit six 3-pointers and led by as many as 14 points with less than two minutes remaining in the quarter.
The Chargers began to pull closer as they continuously went to the freer throw line as AVC continued to foul. Cypress was 26-of-29 from the free throw line while the Marauders only went 10 times, connecting on four.
The Chargers drew even at 64-64 with less than five minutes remaining, but Smith hit a 3-pointer to recapture the lead. Cypress began to get hot as it had three consecutive possessions with a 3-pointer and took a five-point lead. Perkins tied the game with a 3-pointer with 22 seconds remaining, but the Marauders fouled the Chargers again and following two more free throws Cypress led 79-77 with 15 seconds remaining.
A missed shot by AVC and two additional free throws put the game away for the Chargers.
Of the six 3-pointers AVC hit in the third quarter, all were on consecutive possessions as Cypress was forced to come out of its zone. The Marauders led 30-26 at halftime.
So far this tournament Bivens has scored 42 points and pulled down 40 rebounds. Perkins added five 3-pointers and scored 16 points. Aniyah Terry, which helped extend AVC's lead in the third quarter, finished with nine points and seven rebounds and Ferry scored 13 points, including four 3-pointers.