By Dan Gudino
Women’s basketball continued its stellar play Dec. 4, with a tournament-winning buzzer-beating shot by sophomore center Gloria Ortiz, against Palomar College, to win 72-70, in the 33rd Annual Lady Charger Classic, held at Cypress College.
East Los Angeles College, still undefeated in 2016 at 9-0, won its third tournament this season with a last second rebound that was then put back up for the final score by Ortiz.
Ortiz came off the bench to record a double-double, finishing with a game high 17 points, 11 rebounds and a steal.
“I’m sure if you sat in the stands, it was a great game to watch. We are fortunate to come out on the good side. The first two games of the tournament we pulled back, we could have scored 100 (points), but this game was not like the first two. We made enough of an effort to come out with the win,” ELAC head coach Bruce Turner said.
ELAC faced many hurdles in the game and never led the game until sophomore guard Allissa Gomez made a lay-up to give the Huskies a 59-57 lead with under 7 minutes to go in the fourth period.
The game was kept close as Palomar scored eight straight points, including two three-point shots, in the final three minutes to steal momentum and tie the game at 70-70.
In the season, the Husky defense has helped the team to blowout victories of 58 points, 47 and 38 as it continues to build an average margin of victory of 24 points per game.
When the defense needed a play with 10 seconds to go, ELAC sophomore guard Katrina Reeves came up with a steal to put the last shot into the hands of the Huskies.
Reeves finished with a double-double of her own, with 13 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 blocks.
“We honestly feel like we are the top dog in the state,” Turner said.
Turner said he considers Gomez and Farrah Castillo the best guard tandem in the state, both ending with 15 points against Palomar.
On day one of the tournament, ELAC took care of business and lit up Cypress 95-37. The next day it cruised against Cypress and won 97-56.
Currently, ELAC ranks No. 2 in the state and came into the season ranked No. 3 in Southern California.
“This is the best start I’ve ever had in a season here. We really have the potential to make (it to) another final, but this time come out on top. This is year is different, though, because what separates us from the crowd is player development. We not only coach the players, we develop them,” Turner said.
The women started the season in early November with a tournament victory at the Mission College 8th Annual Tournament, then in mid-Nov. it captured the 5th Saddleback College Lady Gaucho Classic Tournament Championship, as it seeks a fourth tourney title in the Golden Gate Classic Dec. 16-18.
Dec. 27 the team will host its own tournament, the ELAC Husky Classic, held in the South Gym.