Ventura College Athletics

VC Dominant Inside For Tournament Win

VC sophomore LaDaesha Merriweather had 10 points and eight rebounds to help the Pirates to a 68-48 victory over Fullerton Friday at the LAVC-Buddy's All-Star Classic in Valley Glen. (photo by Felix Cortez)
VC sophomore LaDaesha Merriweather had 10 points and eight rebounds to help the Pirates to a 68-48 victory over Fullerton Friday at the LAVC-Buddy's All-Star Classic in Valley Glen. (photo by Felix Cortez)

The Pirates' women's basketball team owned the inside Friday against Fullerton. Three Ventura forwards combined for 32 points and 29 rebounds (Madison Kast, 12 points, five rebounds; Kimora Pooler, 10 points 16 rebounds, and LaDaesha Merriweather, 10 points, eight boards) to lead VC to a 68-48 victory over the Hornets in the first round of the LAVC-Buddy's All-Star Classic in Valley Glen. As a team, Ventura outrebounded Fullerton 64-35 to move into the tournament semifinals. Talia Taufaasau had 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists and a pair of blocked shots to lead the effort as Ventura won its 10th straight game.

Merriweather scored early on the inside and Kast backed down her defender into a turn-around for a 6-3 Pirate lead. Cece Quntino assisted another Merriweather inside score before Kast scored again for a 13-8 Ventura advantage midway through the opening quarter. Pooler netted a deuce late in the period and Ventura led 16-13 at the quarter break.

Fullerton scored the first four points of the second quarter, then went scoreless for the final 7:23 of the half. Pooler's score from a Taufaasau dime gave the Pirates the lead for good, and she made two more jumpers for a personal 6-0 run. Merriweather got into the act with a field goal before assisting a three by Yasmine Ahllamara. Merriweather's jumper with 2:01 remaining completed VC's 12-0 run, giving the Pirates a 29-17 halftime advantage. The Pirates' inside presence of Kast, Merriweather and Pooler combined for 11-19 shooting in the first 20 minutes for 24 points to go along with 14 rebounds.

The Hornets made a mini-run early in the third period, only to have Ventura turn it back and add to the lead. Qunitino ended a 4-0 FC spurt, and Victoria Maciel assisted a bucket by Merriweather. Taufaasau sandwiched a 3-point play and a deuce around two free throws by Pooler and the Pirates stretched their lead to 41-25 at the 4:46 mark of the period. Kast made four straight charity shots and Taufaasau's three in the closing seconds made it 50-32 for VC heading to the fourth quarter.

Any hopes Fullerton had of a comeback were ended early in the final stanza when Maciel hit back-to-back three's for a 56-35 advantage. Taufaasau hot three of four free throws and a pair of field goals, and Emma Larson hit a triple and scored on a strong drive to the basket to keep the advantage near the 20-point mark. Ventura cruised to the end for the 68-48 victory.

Ventura advances to the tournament semifinals against San Francisco City College. The Pirates and Rams will tip off at 5:00 pm at LA Valley College in Valley Glen.