She shoots, she scores! That seemed to be the dominating thought on everyone’s mind as they watched the Vanguard women’s basketball team win the Golden State Athletic Conference championship game against Westmont College. The game was held at Concordia University in Irvine on Tuesday evening.
The Vanguard Lions sustained two losses to the Westmont Warriors with only three total losses in the season. Vanguard was the number 2 seed with a record of 23-3 and Westmont was the number 1 seed with a record of 25-4.
The stands were filled with fans from both Westmont and Vanguard as well as a few fans from Concordia sporting their school colors of green and gold despite their team not playing. The Vanguard fans stayed contained to their section behind the team’s bench for about the first quarter of the game until various groups dressed in outrageous costumes, both sporting school colors and not, began to spread out among the open seats. The abundance of Vanguardians proved to be significantly louder than the paltry, five-person Westmont cheerleading squad.
“As the final seconds ticked off the clock I was just so happy. I was such a great feeling to be able to hug each of our 4 seniors and know that we were giving them something that they would remember for a lifetime. It was just an amazing feeling to know that our hard work paid off, and that we would have great momentum going into nationals,” stated Ballestro, who held the ball as her and her teammates watched the final seconds tick away.
Ballestro ended the game with a total of 22 points and Timmermans with 15.
Ballestro attributes the success to simply, “executing the game plan,” saying that they “were not able to do this for a full 40 minutes.” This time, however, they were able to come in just as strong in both halves.
“We are a very close knit team and we are truly a family. It was a big part of our success because we never had to worry about any outside drama and we were able to focus completely on basketball. We care about each other so much off the court and that shows on the court because we are willing to do anything to help each other,” Ballestro stated when asked how the relationship between teammates off the court contributes to success on the court.
Both teams move on the play in the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship starting this Wednesday. Vanguard plays their first game in “Nationals” at 4:00pm on Wednesday March 13.