PASADENA — Even though the Pasadena City College women's basketball team entered Wednesday evening's South Coast Conference game ranked seventh in South California and 11th in state, it could be argued that visiting Cerritos College was in a better position.
The Falcons, unranked in the latest California Community College Athletic Assn. state poll and tied for 14th in Southern California, were third in conference, one spot ahead of the Lancers.
“This is a big win, first of all, for conference and then also in terms of rivalry. Cerritos is one of our big rivals and to beat them on our home court is big,” said Lancers Coach Joe Peron, who picked up victory No. 405. “We’re getting back to playing the type of basketball we’re used to playing, we just have to be more consistent.”
With the win, Pasadena (15-5 overall, 5-3 in conference) tied Cerritos (11-8, 5-3) for third in conference behind state top-ranked Mt. San Antonio College (21-0, 8-0) and Long Beach City (16-2, 6-1).
Yet, the win was in peril as the Lancers’ one-time 15-point second-half advantage was whittled away to one at 50-49 after a step-back three-pointer from Angela Pena (game-high 20 points) with 47.9 seconds left.
The bucket was immediately followed by a foul of Pasadena’s Shay Jackson, who sank two free throws with 46 seconds left to put PCC back up, 52-49.
Jackson and teammate Desiree Loving (nine points) then paired up to force a turnover on Cerritos’ next possession.
The giveaway was followed by a Falcons foul of Jackson, who then missed the front end of a bonus free-throw opportunity.
The miss, though, didn’t cost the Lancers, as Loving stripped Pena, which eventually led to a foul and two free throws from Sabrina Martinez with 15.6 seconds left that gave the Lancers a 54-49 advantage.
“We need to end our season perfect or at least challenge everyone in every game,” said Lancers forward Kaitlyn Parks, who finished with eight points and 18 rebounds. “It got nervous at the end, but it was a win we needed.”
The Lancers closed the first half with a flurry in taking a 27-18 advantage into the break.
Pasadena’s largest deficit came with 12:40 remaining in the half after Cerritos’ Marissa Rendon (11 points) hit a running layup to put the Falcons up, 13-6.
Cerritos led, 15-10, at the 7:42 mark when the Lancers launched an impressive 17-3 spurt capped by a steal and layup from Jackson with 1:14 left in the half.
Pasadena’s spurt was fueled by four points apiece from Parks and Brandi DuBose, formerly of Muir High.
A steal and assist from Jackson turned into a layup from DuBose with 4:29 that tied the game at 18.
Pasadena’s lead was impressive given the Lancers opened by scoring six of the contest’s first eight points after a 10-footer from Sarah Jackson at 16:27.
From that point on, however, the Lancers went scoreless for the next 5:15 as the Falcons stormed back with an 11-0 run capped on Rendon’s layup.
Pasadena finally answered back with a four-footer from Parks at 11:12 to climb within 13-8.
Overall, Stella Ghazarian led Pasadena with 11 points.