Lasers win Cup for the second year in a row

Round 2 @ SB 4 (Jason Chung)

Jason Chung

The Irvine Valley College basketball teams took home the President’s Cup two years in a row with a double-win over Saddleback College on Friday.

The second round of this year’s President’s Cup games, an annual tradition of basketball rivalry between the two colleges that began four years ago, took place at Saddleback on Friday.

The Gauchos had won the first round in January by defeating IVC in both women’s and men’s games. However, the Lasers struck back with a vengeance last week as the women’s team won 63-50 while the men won 72-64 to once again secure the Cup.

“Now each college has had the Cup for two years,” said IVC president Glenn Roquemore. “It’s a wonderful traditional. It brings the two colleges together to have some fun and a little bit of competition. So it feels good, the campus will be happy to see it back.”

During the first half of the women’s game, the teams were well-matched until IVC slowly eased ahead with 100 percent shooting from the free-throw line, ending the first half with a six-point lead at 30-24.

Gauchos were unable to close the gap throughout the reminder of the game. Instead, due to a combination of poor 3-pointer shots and high number of fouls, Lasers were able to extend the lead to 13 points by the end.

Saddleback shot 12.5 percent in 3-pointers, making only one out of eight attempts. A total of 20 team fouls resulted in the disqualification of Shalae Edwards and Shala Kirkpatrick, both key players, in the last five minutes. The fouls also allowed Lasers to score an extra 12 points in the second half, resulting in a 86.4 free-throw percentage.

“I didn’t think we played our best. We played good enough to win,” said IVC women’s head coach Julie Hanks. “But the second half, we did stepped it up. Amber Wharton and Megan Blackwell made key shots, got some rebounds, some loose balls and charges.”

The men’s teams saw some impressive defense in the first half as they held each other at bay.

Although Gauchos shot 53.8 percent from the field, they only had 13 attempts at the basket. Meanwhile, Lasers made none of their four 3-pointer shots.

Yet, IVC eventually assumed the lead by stepping up their offense, acquiring a 42.3 field goal percentage out of 26 attempts to lead the game 31-26 after the first half.

Lasers continued to pull away in the second half, creating a 11-point difference at one point. Gauchos spent the rest of the game trying to overtake their opponent, managing to reduce the deficit to five points.

But their efforts were thwarted by fatigue, which caused them to keep turning over the ball and missing free throws the last seven minutes of the game, giving their opponent the chance to stretch their lead.

IVC out-shot Saddleback from the floor with 52 percent against the latter’s 46.9 percent, and 70 percent on the free-throw line compared to Gauchos’ 36.8 percent during the second half.

“There’s the difference in the game,” said Saddleback men’s head coach Andy Ground, “missed layups and free throws.”

IVC guard Ramon Mejia lead the game with 21 points while forward Christian Scott secured a game-high eight rebounds total.

 “[The overall performance of the team] was outstanding,” said IVC men’s head coach Jerry Hernandez. “Our decision-making, especially the second half, was better. Our team defense was really solid.”

“I was on edge with both the women’s game and the men’s game,” said Roquemore. “I was absolutely uncertain how it was going to go. It was well-played, the teams were absolutely excellent. Excellent players and coaches.”

Admissions for the night’s games were donated to the Max DiPadova Recovery Fund to aid the five-year-old son of Audra DiPadova, director of student development at Saddleback, in his fight against brain cancer.

The halftime shooting contest was a tie between Earl Pagel, representing the SOCCCD, and Ashley Hatcher, Saddleback Track and Field.

Round 2 @ SB 3 (Jason Chung)

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