By Alfonso Rivera
The number-one-seeded Mt. San Antonio College Mounties ended the most successful season in East Los Angeles College women’s basketball history.
The Huskies suffered a heart-breaking defeat in the regional finals 62-60. The fourth-seeded Huskies battled throughout the contest. The battle between the conference foes was a defensive struggle on both ends of the court. In the end it was a layup by point guard Ashawnte Hawkins with 1.1 seconds left on the clock that won the game for the Mounties.
A 7-0 run gave the Mounties a 22-15 lead at 9:22 in the first half. The Huskies came roaring back with a 15-5 run capped by a Keyanna Johnson steal and layup that gave them the lead, 30-27, with 2:55 left before the half. The Huskies took that momentum into the half with a 34-29 edge over the Mounties, led by 20 first half points scored by Jamie Robinson and 11 points by Johnson.
The second half of the game went back and forth with many lead changes. The Mounties took their first lead of the second half, 48-47, on a bucket by South Coast Conference Player of the Year Danielle Peacon with 9:32 left in the contest. The number two team in the state built that lead to five points, 58-53 with 4:15 on the clock. Husky Dominique Scott cut the lead to three points after sinking two free throws with 2:42 left to make the score 58-55.
Aires McCarther drilled a jumper from the top of the key to cut the lead to one point, 58-57, at 1:01, forcing Mounties second-year coach Brian Crichlow to call a timeout. The Mounties took a 60-57 lead after the timeout, with the clock ticking and the crowd on their feet. Husky first team All-State guard Johnson stepped back and launched a three-pointer to tie the game with 20.8 seconds left.
Hawkins, sophomore guard, used a pick to free herself up and drove the lane down to the baseline, scoring for the Mounties and ending the season for the Huskies with a final score of 62-60.
Crichlow said, “The Huskies are a tough, great team; well coached with tremendous athletes. It was a game that could have gone either way. Our defense stepped it up in the second half and we were able to fight back and capitalize on our chances.”
The Huskies were led by Robinson, with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Johnson finished the game with 16 points and four steals and Scott added seven points and five boards. “I am very proud of each and everyone of our girls. They played their heart out. Unfortunately, there were some calls at the end of the game that could have gone either way,” said six-year Husky coach Bruce Turner.
After the game Turner said, “I congratulate Mt. SAC and wish them well. This was our best season ever, in terms of record and our playoff performance. This program has turned around and we are expecting a great recruiting class next year.”
The Huskies ended their season with a record of 24-7.