WBK: Vaqueros win MTXE finale

SBCC used a balanced attack to beat San Mateo 73-65 on Saturday and capture third place in the sixth annual MTXE Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Sports Pavilion.

Center Elia Salazar had 15 points, Jasmine Mata had 14 and Mhiah Vickers tallied 13 points and eight rebounds as the Vaqueros improved to 4-1. Chureel Kanongata’a topped the Bulldogs (3-3) with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Santa Barbara outshot the visitors 41.4 to 29.4 percent and won the battle of the boards, 48-38. The Vaqueros managed to win despite shooting 54 percent from the foul line (19-35) and committing 30 turnovers..

Vickers, who scored 17 on Friday night, was named to the all-tournament team. She’s scored at least 12 points in all five games this year.

No. 4 San Bernardino Valley won the tourney for the second straight year by knocking off Solano 70-67. Norissa Sanders, a 6-0 forward, earned her second consecutive MVP award. Sequoias claimed the consolation crown with a 90-83 win over Santa Ana.

Mata got SBCC off to a fast start with four 3-pointers in the first 4½ minutes, staking the Vaqueros to a 14-8 lead. San Mateo cut the deficit to 24-20 at the 7:11 mark before Santa Barbara ended the half on a 17-3 run. Salazar had nine points and a blocked shot during that spurt, which gave the Vaqueros a 41-23 halftime advantage.

“We want to play 40 minutes of basketball,” said coach Sandrine Krul. “We go on these runs, then we revert back to fouling and fouling.”

Santa Barbara took a 20-point lead (43-23) on a leaning 12-footer by Vickers to open the second half. The Bulldogs chipped away and got withing eight on an old-fashioned three-point play by Mia Maffei.

But the Morales twins restored order as Darla Morales hit two free throws and Andrea Morales canned a 3-pointer. After a steal on the full-court press, Salazar made a 15-foot jumper to boost the margin back to 14 at 63-49.

The Morales sisters combined for 17 points off the bench with Andrea scoring nine. Darla added eight points, a team-high nine rebounds and three steals. Salazar and Jessica Valadez also had three steals apiece.

Santa Barbara will take the next 11 days off before playing in the prestigious 16-team Gilchrist Invitational at Sequoias. SBCC will take on Sierra on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m.