For the past two seasons, College of the Sequoias has felt right at home at Pasadena City College's Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium. The Giants enjoyed championship wins over the Lancers the past two seasons at the then President's Roundball Classic, including one of the worst home losses ever by a Coach Joe Peron team in a 72-36 defeat last year.
But at the PCC Round Robin Classic on Friday night, the Lancers exacted a little revenge. Tied 52-52 with 8.9 seconds left, the Lancers Dariel Johnson broke up an inbounds lob pass into the post. Pasadena drove up the floor and Kailey Thai launched a 3-pointer from the corner as she was being fouled. The freshman guard made 2-of-3 free throws with one second left to give the Lancers a 54-52 victory over Sequoais, a team ranked No. 1 in the pre-season North Region poll.
The Lancers, picked No. 11 in the pre-season South poll, upped their perfect record to 4-0 with Thai scoring a game-high 19 points, including nailing four long-range 3-pointers. Cosette Balmy was 9-for-10 from the free throw line and added 13 points. Johnson didn't have big scoring numbers with only five points, but grabbed 17 rebounds, blocked four shots and made two steals.
Johnson's steal and lay-in helped PCC take a 15-14 lead after one quarter. Sequoias went on an 11-0 run and held the Lancers scoreless for the first 4:40 of the second quarter. The Giants (now 3-2) led by as much as nine, 25-16, and took a 31-24 lead into halftime. In the third quarter, COS again built the lead back to nine, but PCC battled back and took a 37-35 lead when Thai buried a NBA 3-pointer from nearly 25 feet out. Sequioas' Shae Sanchez hit a bank shot that made it 40-40 after three quarters.
In the final period, COS took a 50-46 advantage but Daniela Mendez, a transfer from Sequoias, gave the Lancers another big lift scoring two baskets, including a layup with a minute left for a 52-50 PCC lead. The Giants tied it at 52-52 on a pair of free throws by Janelle Sumilong with 49 seconds remaining. Thai's free throws though notched an exciting last-second Lancers victory.
In other PCC tourney games, Keely Wall scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead Citrus over Imperial Valley, 63-49. Keren Hogue had 18 points and 16 boards for IVC. Breanna Gafare scored 30 points and tallied 10 rebounds to pace San Diego City in a 66-45 triumph over College of the Desert.
In Saturday's final day of the PRRC, Imperial Valley faces Desert at 10 a.m., Citrus takes on Sequoias at 12 noon, and the Lancers close out the tourney with a contest against SD City.
WOMEN CAGER TRIVIA NOTES: PCC's opening tourney win over Imperial Valley stretched Coach Peron's incredible streak of winning home openers. Peron's teams have never lost a home opener going back to his first season in 1996-97 and is 23-0 in such contests...Peron's victory over Sequoias made the Giants the 73rd different California Community College opponent that PCC has beaten in his tenure. The only two schools now his teams have faced and not beaten were both single meetings v. North Region Big 8 Conference teams--0-1 v. American River and Diablo Valley Colleges...If PCC defeats San Diego City on Saturday it would mark the first 5-0 season start by a Lancers team in six years.