SBCC women surprise 10th-ranked Ventura

It was a tale of two halves on Friday afternoon as SBCC built a 21-point halftime lead, then hung on to upset 10th-ranked Ventura 61-58 in the quarterfinals of the Tom Gilchrist Sequoias Invitational women’s basketball event in Visalia.

Janelle Wong scored 11 of her 13 points in the first half as the Vaqueros (7-3) jumped out to a 41-20 lead thanks to 43.8 percent shooting and eight 3-pointers in 17 attempts.

“We grew up so much in the second half,” said coach Sandrine Krul, whose team beat the 20-time defending WSC champion Pirates for the third time in her seven seasons. “You knew Ventura would come back.”

Ventura (5-3), the defending state champion, is 213-5 over the last 20 years in WSC play.

“Our team really believes in our system of shuffling players in and out,” Krul added. “I’ve never had a team that believes in itself as much as this one.”

Wong hit 3-8 from downtown in the opening half and finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Brooke Amenta had 13 points, seven boards and three assists while Brooke Berry added eight points and nine rebounds.

The Pirates outshot the Vaqueros 42 to 19.4 percent after intermission and pulled within one with 8.4 seconds left. SBCC‘s Jennifer Jimenez made her first free throw and missed the second to give the Vaqueros a 60-58 advantage.

“Then Janelle comes flying in and grabs that huge rebound,” said Krul.
Nanice Kollee was fouled with 6.4 seconds to go and made one of two attempts. Ventura called timeout to set up a play but SBCC came out in a full-court press and the Pirates missed a half-court try.

Imelda Bealer scored seven first-half points, then left with a shoulder injury with four minutes to play.

The Vaqueros will meet the Cerritos-Antelope Valley winner at 6 p.m. on Saturday in the semifinals of the 16-team tourney.

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