Gauchos come out on top in sister school rematch

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The Irvine Valley women’s basketball team overcame adversity and injuries this season. It banded together with teamwork, came through in the clutch and had standout performances from standout players and role-players alike.

Lasers’ coach Julie Hanks, in her tenth season coaching the team, puts this team – which finished in fourth place in the Orange Empire Conference – in simple enough terms.

“I’m very proud to be in that locker room with those girls,” Hanks said. “These girls never give up and they want to win.”The story of the Lasers’ season can perhaps be simplified into one word: poetry. More specifically, poetry with many layers that comes together with a united message.

“We had alot of good team chemistry and we played so well together,” said sophomore forward Jenna Schonfeld, who played in last Friday’s 67-51 home loss to Saddleback last Friday just a week after taking a hard fall against Cypress.

“The fall I took was pretty bad,” said Schonfeld, who played through injury for a good part of the season. “I couldn’t help but scream. I felt like [something] was broken. It was the most painful thing ever.”

The Lasers (18-12, 7-7), who started the season 9-1 before going 3-5 over an eight-game stretch, relied heavily on depth and teamwork to counter injuries.

Sophmores Shamia Briscoe, Mishella Scott, Megan Benbow and Tiffany Smith – who scored 49 points in a game this season and was the teams leading-scorer, showed leadership as veterans off the bench. Freshmen Alleson Frampton, Tessa Ross, Ashley Ross and Raycie Haley also contributed to the team’s success this season.

Another layer of the Lasers was clutch play. Freshmen forward Ashley Dunn hit a game-winning shot against Palomar earlier in the season. Patricia Fuentes made a 3-pointer while being fouled and completed a four-point play at Santa Ana to seal the game. DJ Butler made the game winning shot against the Dons at home, and both Schonfeld and Nicole Tait made clutch 3-pointers to tie games late or to take a lead.

The No. 13 seed Lasers, a year after going 11-18, have three victories in their last four games and now appear ready for their first-round road playoff matchup against No. 4 Ventura this Friday at 7 p.m.

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