Mounties zapped from playoffs by Lasers Again

Women’s basketball eliminated by Irvine Valley College for the second straight year


Mt. SAC on the fastbreak during their second round playoff game against Irvine Valley College

Saturday night’s 60-64 loss to Irvine Valley was a painful reminder of the 2017-18 season that ended in similar fashion to

the same team, only this time it would be in the second round of the playoffs instead of the third round.

Mt. SAC entered the CCCAA Southern California Regionals as the number 4 seed with hopes of advancing on

to the state finals and capturing their ninth state title; they currently hold the state record of eight

state championships.

Mt. SAC was streaky offensively throughout the game

This is the second year in a row that Irvine Valley has defeated Mt. SAC and knocked them out

of playoff contention. The last time theses two teams met was in the third round of last season’s

playoffs where the Lasers won 76-71 to advance to the state championships.

“My hat goes off to Irvine Valley, they did a great job,” Mounties head coach Brian Crichlow said.

“They stayed the course for four quarters and did what they had to do.” Irvine Valley scored the

first points of the game, won the race to 10 points, and maintained the lead through the entire

first half and most of the second.

Many of the same issues that have plagued the team all season converged in Saturday’s

calamity. Their defense, which is what the program prides itself on, let Irvine Valley shoot 46

percent from the field in the second half, maintaining the rhythm to ultimately score 64 points.

This is more than the 55.2 points per game average they allowed this season.

It was a rough night defensively for the Mounties, as their usually dominant defense allowed 64 points

“I believe this game was lost in December, January, early February. With playing the way we’ve

been playing it will eventually catch up to you,” Crichlow said. “Irvine stayed consistent, they

stayed consistent from start to finish. They never panicked, they kept their composure, and I

can’t say the same for my team.”

The Mounties trailed the Lasers by five at the end of the first quarter. The largest lead of the first

half came at 3:44 in the first when the Lasers led 15-5. Mt. SAC then stepped up in the second

to outscore Irvine Valley 18-13 and tie the game at 28-28 going into halftime. Irvine Valley

dominated in the third quarter by outscoring the Mounties 22-11. The largest lead of the second

half then came at 9:45 in the fourth quarter where the Lasers led the Mounties 52-39. In the

fourth, the Mounties outscored the Lasers 21-14 but it was not enough to overcome the hole

they dug.

“Bad fouls at times, turn the ball over, not rotating correctly, so we exerted energy at times in

bad ways that hurt us tonight,” Crichlow said.

Mt. SAC’s Kiara Stiger was the top scorer on the team with 16 points and three rebounds.

Lauryn Manns was second in team scoring with 12 points, two rebounds and two steals while

Natalia Shpegel finished with 10 points and five rebounds. Tiana Douglas led the team with nine

rebounds, while Jade Hughes had seven along with one block. Aujanae Mayes led the team

with five steals.

Irvine Valley’s Anai Washington, Lexi Vail and Zoe Stachowski combined for 49 points.

Stachowski had 15 rebounds, while Washington had eight. Irvine Valley as a team had no

blocked shots.

“We had our chances tonight, we played hard, we were inefficient at times, then there was times

we were very efficient and it showed,” Crichlow said. “You’re down by 10, three to four minutes to

go in the game, cut it down to three, cut it down to two, we had the chance and missed three

free throws at the end and a couple of things, you know. It’s one of those deals.”

After being going home early for the second consecutive year, the Mounties will look to rebound for the 2019-20 season

With now being eliminated early in the playoffs for the second straight year there is sure to be some added

determination for next season, but that will not distract Crichlow from remaining focused and

staying the course.

“We’re Mt. SAC at the end of the day,” Crichlow said. “We’re going to approach the season with

a lot of pride, tradition based. It starts with working hard and being dedicated to our program.”

Irvine Valley now goes on to face #12 seed Ventura in the bracket final next Saturday, March 9 at 7 P.M.