Pirates hold of Gauchos

Gauchos freshman Justine Chacon had the chance to take her team into a third overtime period against Orange Coast College but missed a 3-pointer with no time remaining.

It was just her first loss to the Pirates, but it was her team’s seventh-straight.

With first place in the Orange Empire Conference on the line, OCC’s women’s basketball team once again upended Saddleback, 77-74, this time in double-overtime.

“It was a tough battle,” Chacon said. “Hopefully next time we get the win.”

The game started with both teams going on various runs. Saddleback was the first to strike, as it went on a 7-0 run to extend it’s lead to five points, the largest of the first half.

OCC decided to capitalize with a run of its own, taking the lead back, 17-16.

After the Gauchos regained the lead once more, they took a one-point advantage into the locker room.

Sophomore Rekeshia Jones led the Gauchos and the half with eight points and eight rebounds.

Sophomore point guard Cassie Klockgether was right behind with six points on two 3-point shots.

Despite shooting less than 40 percent in the first half, Saddleback hit four 3-pointers to keep the lead.

“We are a good shooting team,” said Saddleback coach Fentriss Winn. “The outside shot brought us back when we were down.”

As the second half started, the Gauchos came out with intensity.

Chacon and teammate Joy Mason led an 11-0 run, which was topped off by a Klockgether 3-pointer.

She finished the game with 16 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.

The Pirates did not give up, however, as they were led by star forward Courtney Ford.

Ford, despite being held to only two field goals in the first half, scored 14 points in the second, including the final three basket to tie the score and send the game into a first overtime.

Ford finished with a game-high 34 points and 14 rebounds.

In the first overtime, the Gauchos held Ford and the Pirates to only eight points.

“Coach emphasized defense throughout the overtimes,” Chacono said. “The three-point shot was also a major factor, especially near the end of the game.”

With a chance to win, Klockgether lost the ball out of bounds with 32 seconds remaining on the clock to send the game into a second overtime.

“We needed to keep up the intensity and keep fighting every minute of the game,” said Jones, who finished with a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Down by one point with 2:09 remaining, the Gauchos leader and captain, Klockgether, fouled out and OCC hit two clutch free throws.

A final prayer failed to be heard as Chacon’s 3-point attempt was no good with 7.2 seconds remaining.

“I just wanted to make sure I made a three or got fouled,” Chacon said. “We needed that score.”

Since February of 1996, OCC has had the Gauchos number with an 18-3 record against them.

“It was a good game,” Winn said. “We played hard and had a lot of opportunities. We battled to the end.”

With its record falling to 16-6 (3-3), Saddleback will return home to host sister school Irvine Valley College. Tip off is at 7:30 p.m.

The Gauchos conclude their three-game homestand with a Feb. 2 game against Fullerton and a Feb. 6 game against Riverside.

Winn’s team then goes on the road to play Santa Ana and Cypress and closes out the season with another game against Irvine Valley.

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