Gauchos grab win over Irvine Valley

Lasers coach Julie Hanks discusses the game-deciding call with official Nancy Svoboda.

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Rivalries were renewed once again as Irvine Valley battled its sister school last Wednesday night at Saddleback College. Saddleback won the game 63-57. It was a hard-nosed, tough basketball game where both teams had chances to win until the final 3.3 seconds.

Irvine Valley’s D.J. Butler was involved in a very controversial play very late in the game. She also started it on fire, scoring 11 of her team’s first 13 points. She finished the game with a team-high 16 points.

Neither team took control of the game early in the first quarter. Any time the Lasers established any kind of momentum, the Gauchos answered right back.

The Lasers shot only 39 percent from the field in the first half while the Gauchos shot 50 percent, which contributed to their 33-25 halftime lead.

The Lasers quickly got back into the game with a 6-0 run to start the second half and pulled even with 10 minutes remaining in the game.

But Saddleback, led by sophomore guard Cassie Klockgether, responded again. Klockgether finished with a game-high 23 points. More importantly, she was 12 of 15 from the free throw line.

The Lasers’ attack in the second half was led by Patrice Fuentes and Tiffany Smith. They scored 17 of the Lasers 32 points in the half.

The referees told the story of the second half, where both teams combined to 28 free throws. The Lasers shot 69 percent from the line in the second half while the Gauchos shot 83 percent.

Controversy took over after Butler missed field goal with four seconds left on the game clock. The Gauchos were awarded a timeout on an apparent jump ball that was not called.

“I don’t see how you can reward a team a time out when they clearly have no control of the basketball,” said IVC coach Julie Hanks.

After a technical foul on Hanks, Klockgether nailed two free throws and Saddleback retained possession. Hanks said she received the technical foul she for saying “that’s unbelievable.” With a four-point lead and possession, Saddleback went with an inbounds pass to center Rekeshia Jones, who was fouled hard by Butler. Klockgether hit both free throws on the flagrant foul to seal the victory.

“I am very proud of Butler,” said Hanks. “She plays hard all the time and she wanted the game very badly. I am very proud of all my girls and I was very proud to be in that locker room with them after the game. These girls show a lot of heart and determination. We will bounce back and try to give it our all against OCC Friday night.”

After the game, Hanks said she would email the Commissioner of the Orange Empire Conference to file a grievance against the referees “based on Saddlebacks non-control of the ball when they were awarded a time out.”

“The game should not be handled by the refs to end the game,” Hanks said. “It’s unfair to both teams.”

Heartbreak contimed for the Lasers on Friday with an 80-79 loss at Orange Coast. Tiffany Smith finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds and Jenna Schonfeld and Nicole Tait had 12 points each for IVC, which drops to 15-9 (4-4) and will face Fullerton on the road Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Courtney Ford finished with 38 points, 14 rebounds and five assists for the Pirates (23-3, 7-1)

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