Five minutes into the state quarterfinals, things did not look good. The Pirates' women's basketball team trailed 15-2 and had missed nine of 10 shots. Little did anyone know, VC had the Rams right where they wanted them. Ventura held steady and methodically dismantled Northern California's No. 2 seed from that point on, outscoring CCSF 77-51 for the 79-66 victory, advancing to the CCCAA State Final Four for the 15th time. All-State guard Katie Campbell led the effort with 31 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Rhiana Dougan scored 21 points and Sienna Brown netted 12 points with six rebounds for Ventura (28-5), Southern California's No. 3 seed. Kyleesha Green pulled down a team-high eight boards with eight assists and Davina Del Castillo scored six points with six rebounds.
San Francisco came into the game as one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the state. They nailed three from downtown, in addition to a lay-up a couple of lay-ups and a put back in opening up the 15-2 edge with 4:55 remaining in the first quarter. Del Castillo made a free throw to start an 8-2 run for the Pirates, mostly at the foul line. Brown's charity toss made it 17-10, and CCSF led at the quarter break, 19-10.
VC made just two field goals in the first period, and made more than that in 1:46 of the second. The Rams hit from three to open the period, then Ventura went on a 16-4 run to tie the game at 26. Dougan sandwiched a pair of scores around a Campbell lay-up, then Del Castillo and Brown scored inside. Dougan and Campbell scored again, and Green tied the score with a stea and aly-up with 3:08 left in the half.
The Pirates were not done there, as they scored the next seven points, a lay-up and jumper by Campbell and a triple from Dougan off of Campbell's assist. San Francisco netted a deuce to close the half and Ventura led at intermission, 33-28.
The teams traded buckets early in the third quarter, and the Pirate lead was trimmed to one, 38-37, at the 5:21 mark. Dougan turned back the Rams with another trey off Celeste Salazar's pass, and Campbell answered another Ram basket with her own triple, assisted by Green. Lay-ups by Brown and Del Castillo helped the Pirates to a 48-42 margin at the end of the period.
Campbell nailed two more shots from range to open the fourth as VC's lead stretched to double figures, 54-44 with 7:22 remaining in the game. Dougan's third 3-pointer of the game put Ventura ahead 67-52 with 4:08 on the clock, and he Pirates made free throws down the stretch to post the 79-66 victory.
Ventura advances to its 15th state semifinal appearance on Saturday March 11. VC will take on South No. 1-seed Mt. San Antonio College at 7:00 pm, following South No. 4 Palomar against North No. 3 Siskiyous in the first semifinal. The Pirates' game can be seen live on the VC Sports Network.