WALNUT, Calif. - A playoff atmosphere was felt at the South Coast Conference North contest between Mt. SAC and Pasadena City College Friday night on the Walnut campus.
Just two days after the Mounties defeated the CCCAA state No. 1 East Los Angeles College, another tough game took place in the second SCC game this week.
The Mounties led early and most of importantly, late in the game, and pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat PCC, 56-47.
Mt. SAC, No. two in So Cal, most likely will jump in next weeks' rankings after defeating No. 1 ELAC and No. 5 PCC this week.
With the game tied, 44-44, and 5:20 remaining in the fourth quarter, Mt. SAC went on a 12-3 run to end the game.
Included in the run were two free throws and a short jump shot by sophomore guard Maddeline Dopplick (3 assists, 3 steals, 4-4 FT) to give the Mounties a four-point lead, 48-44 and ending with a pair of free throws each by sophomore guard Amari Terry and sophomore guard Caira Benton.
Benton, who has been in her share of big games for the Mounties, had a team-high 15 points, which included eight rebounds and four steals.
Two other Mounties were also in double figures – sophomore forward Kali Jones (11 rebounds, 3 blks, 2-2 FT) and Dopplick with 12 and 10 points respectively.
"It took three quarters to warm up and it took until the fourth quarter (for us) to win it," said Benton, who was a part of the amazing 17-point come-from-behind state championship game last year.
"It was two big games this week and our bodies were just so exhausted.
"We have to remember now that we have two (conference) games each week for the rest of the season. We're a pretty tough team and sometimes it takes more than one half to finally click."
And click they did as the defense held the Lancers to only 20-second half points, which included only eight in the final quarter.
"We had to buckle down in the second half," Mt. SAC coach Brian Crichlow said. "The defense in the fourth quarter is where it should have been in the second quarter.
"They had us on our heels in the first half but we turned the tables in the second half."
Mt. SAC had trouble containing PCC's leading scorer Ilianna Blanc early, who led all scorers with 17 points, but down the clutch in the last seven minutes held her to only a bucket.
With the victory the Mounties added to their state-leading 21st win against only one loss. They are off to a 2-0 start in the conference.
The Mounties will next host the Rio Hondo Roadrunners on Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm.
(Press releases courtesy of Mt. SAC Sports Information)