The Pirates' women's basketball team showed improvement, but still left too much room for error Thursday afternoon, battling No. 3-ranked Los Angeles Trade Tech to a 65-58 loss in the semifinals of the Glendale College Holiday Tournament. Ventura (10-5) held a 29-27 halftime advantage, but a rough third quarter lifted the Beavers to the win. Talia Taufaasau led VC with 20 points and a pair of assists while Cece Quintino netted 13 points with six rebounds, three dimes and three steals. Emma Larson had nine points and six boards in the loss. The Pirates had fallen to the Beavers 66-50 on Dec. 9.
The Pirates got off to a slow start, and were trailing 7-2 midway through the first quarter before a Victoria Maciel bucket and two Taufaasau free throws pulled the Pirates to within a point. The teams then battled back-and-forth for the remainder of the period, with the Pirates trailing 14-12 at the end of the quarter.
Larson began the second stanza with a jumper, and after a Trade Tech bucket, the Pirates went on a 7-0 run to take the lead. Quintino and Taufaasau each connected for field goals before Quintino nailed a three for a 21-16 VC edge with 4:47 remaining. LATT answered with their own run, taking a 24-21 lead two minutes later before a Ventura timeout and a bucket by Taufaasau righted the ship. Ventura closed the half with a 6-0 run, a basket by Madison Cvijanovich and two scores by Taufaasau for a 29-27 lead.
Ventura struggled in the third quarter as Trade Tech reasserted control of the game. The Beavers scored back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 34-31 lead, and after Quintino cut the deficit to 36-35 at the 6:04 mark, LATT went on a 9-2 run over the ext four minutes to open a 46-37 margin. Larson's shot from range closed the gap for the Pirates, and Maciel hit a free throw to pull VC to within four, but the Beavers closed the period with an old-fashioned 3-point play and a 48-41 edge.
The Pirates hung tough in the final quarter as Taufaasau and Larson each scored to pull the Pirates to within two, 48-46. The Beavers had answers, however, every time VC made a run in the final 10 minutes. The margin stretched to 10 points, 56-46, at the 6:25 mark, but a 3-point play from Taufaasau and a triple by Cvijanovich quickly brought Ventura back. LaDaesha Merriweather cleaned up the offensive glass then converted a Quintino assist at the 3:16 mark to make it a two point game. LATT brought out the dagger at that point however, hitting a three on the next possession to quell the threat. Merriweather hit another shot in the final minute to pull Ventura to within four, but the Pirates could get no closer. Ventura dropped the 65-58 decision.
Robin Prince came off the bench for Ventura with another solid effort and six rebounds, and Cvijanovich ended with five points.
The Pirates will play Riverside City College on Friday Dec. 21 at 1:00 pm in the tournament's third place game. Ventura returns home for the VC-Optimist Club Holiday Tournament beginning Dec. 28.