VENTURA, Calif. - For the 15th time in the last 17 tournaments, the Mt. SAC Women's Basketball Team has brought home a title. The latest was a 65-58 triumph over host Ventura College, in the 20th Annual Kiwanis Tournament of Champions, on Sunday afternoon.
Since the 2013 season, the Mounties have dominated preseason tournaments with the numerous championships.
Ventura and Mt. SAC are the top two women's basketball programs over the last 21 years, combining for 15 CCCAA state titles.
On Sunday, the two teams went at it again with the Mounties having a strong second half to come away with the win.
Tournament MVP honors went to Mounties forward Jonnae Vermillion who averaged over 15 points per game (3 games) and had 23 rebounds.
Also named to the all-tournament team was Mountie guard Deja Siaki (9 of 13 FG, 4 of 6 3 pt. FG, 4 RB) who scored 24 points in the title game. Vermillion (5 of 9 FG) had 12 points and guard Dominique McLaughlin (2 of 4 3 pt. FG, 7-8 FT, 5 RB) had 17 points for the Mounties.
Guard Tiana Douglas and forward Tianna Burrell brought down seven and six rebounds respectively for Mt. SAC.
The Mounties jumped out to a 19-9 first-quarter lead behind the hot shooting of Vermillion and Siaki, with six points apiece, combining for 4 of 6 field goals.
Ventura reversed the trend in the second quarter outscoring the Mounties, 20-11 and trailed by a point, 30-29 at the half.
After the half, Siaki, having the best game of her Mt. SAC career, scored seven points to help maintain a three-point, 45-42, lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Siaki (10 pts.) and McLaughlin (7 pts.) combined for 17 of the 20 Mt. SAC fourth-quarter points. Siaki connected with two long-range 3-pointers and McLaughlin sank six free throws in the last 1:19 of the game to seal the victory.
The Mounties head to the College of the Sequoias to defend their 2016 tournament championship, in the 41st Annual Gilcrest Invitational. Mt. SAC will begin play against Mission College, on Thursday, to begin the four-day tourney.
(Courtesy John M. Sherrard, Mt. San Antonio College Athletics)