The Pirates' women's basketball team came back from Christmas break looking merry and bright on Friday, running past Antelope Valley 79-47 in the first round of the VC-Optimist Club Holiday Tournament at the Athletic Event Center. Cece Quintino nearly recorded a triple-double with 20 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists while Madison Cvijanovich netted a career high 19 points, including five made 3-pointers, in pacing the Pirates (11-6) into the tournament semifinals on Saturday against Rio Hondo.
Ventura was on point from the opening, turning a steal by Victoria Maciel into a putback bucket by LaDaesha Merriweather to start the game. Maciel then assisted a three by Emma Larson, and Quintino hit a mid-range jumper to continue the hot start. Two more scores by Merriweather, a three-ball from Talia Taufaasau and another bucket by Quintino made it 16-0 for the Pirates with 4:39 left in the first quarter. After two free throws by the Marauders, Ventura scored 21 straight points moving into the second period, stretching the lead to 37-2. Early in the second period, VC hit for three triples in a row, one from Quintino and two by Cvijanovich, to establish the outcome of the game long before it was over. AVC hit their first field goal of the game at the 7:03 mark, but the damage had been done. Ventura led 46-17 at halftime.
in the second half the Pirates added emphasis to their strong start. VC outscored Antelope Valley 15-6 over the first five minutes of the third quarter to extend the advantage to 38 points. Quintino had a pair of mid-range shots in the run, and Maciel hit twice from range. Larson contributed a trey and a deuce to the effort and Ventura led 61-23 with 4:58 left in the period. The Pirates were never threatened in the game, and they built the advantage to a game-high 41 points, 78-37, on Quintino's three off a Maciel dime with 2:56 remaining. The Pirates posted the 79-47 victory to advance in the tournament.
Maciel finished the night with 11 points and six assists while Larson scored eight points with four rebounds. Merriweather netted seven points with nine boards and Robin Fallandy had a season-best six rebounds.
In other tournament scored from Friday, Los Angeles Valley defeated Allan Hancock 63-36, Rio Hondo bested Orange Coast 75-49, and Mt. San Jacinto beat Irvine Valley 43-29.
The Pirates move to the tournament semifinals Saturday Dec. 29 against Rio Hondo College. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 pm at the Athletic Event Center. Other games Saturday include Irvine Valley vs. Hancock at 1:00 pm, Antelope valley vs. Orange Coast at 3:00 pm, and Mt. San Jacinto vs. LA Valley at 5:00 pm.