On a night where the new Champions of Character banner was revealed to the public, the Vanguard basketball teams hoped to secure victories for Bob Wilson’s last Homecoming Night.
The Lady Lions fell in a high stakes nail biter 58-55, as the men won 82-57 against The Master’s College.
In a battle between two nationally high ranked teams, the Lady Lions (#8) dropped to The Master’s (#12) in the final seconds. It was a seesaw battle, as there were twelve ties in addition to twelve lead changes. Neither team seemed to ever have the clear advantage, with Vanguard’s largest lead being 7 and The Master’s 5.
This game had the makings to be an absolute classic. The Lady Lions were down by 2 as Melissa Norman (SR/Elk Grove, CA) missed a jumper from the free throw line with 16 seconds left on the game clock. Vanguard fouled Bianca Cuebello (JR/Riverside, CA) of The Master’s College to send her to the line with 8 seconds left. Up until this point, both teams were astoundingly perfect from the charity strike, Vanguard being 10-10 and The Master’s 13-13. Cuebello missed her first free throw and sunk her second, giving the Lady Lions one last hope. Vanguard advanced the ball up court and Coach Davis called a timeout to draw up a play.
As time dwindled down, Samantha Doucet (SR/Irvine, CA) took a highly contested 3 point shot with 1 second left on the clock, which was blocked by Chayan Lowery (SO/Spring Valley, CA) of the Mustangs. This ended the Lady Lions ten game win streak, 6 in GSAC play.
Maya Kennedy (JR/Huntington Beach, CA) mentioned that the Mustangs might have anticipated Doucet getting the ball saying, “Sammy is a clutch shooter, and if she would’ve been open I bet she would’ve nailed it.” The tough loss also did not sway her confidence in the team; “We played hard–Masters is a very talented team. Last night just proved we can beat them. A bounce here or there and that could have been us walking out with the win. We’ll get them next time and we’ll be ready.”
Doucet had a game high 17 points, converting 7-20 field goals. Melissa Norman notched her 10th double-double of the season, with 12 points and 15 boards. Mustangs Chayan Lowery had an impressive game with 14 points and 5 blocks, including the block in the final seconds. Cuebello contributed 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
The Lions men dominated the Mustangs men 82-57. Vanguard got off to a somewhat slow start, down 20-23 with 8 minutes left in the first half. From that point on, it all went downhill for the Mustangs, as Vanguard went on a 24-1 run securing a 20 point lead at halftime. Brandon Brothers (FR/Glendora, CA) sunk a 3 pointer with 15 seconds left, followed by a steal by Myles Smith (SR/San Pedro, CA) who assisted Jaamon Echols (SR/Seattle, WA) on another 3 point basket in the final seconds. The lead did not deviate much in the second half, as the Mustangs unable to trim the deficit to less than 15 points.
“I think we are beginning to understand what it takes to be consistent for 40 minutes” Coach Rhett Soliday says, “We are starting to put together more great possessions and it starts with our guards making winning plays at both ends. Myles Smith has had 8 and 7 rebounds the last two games as the smallest guy on the floor. That’s just how tough he is and how committed to winning he is. Zach has been a double-double machine lately and Jaamon and Malachi got it going offensively at key stretches. I’m proud of our progress but think we can continue to get better.”
Echols had a game high 22 points, and Hoosein (SO/Norwalk, CA) contributed 20 points with 4 three pointers. Allmon (JR/San Luis Obispo, CA) put together yet another double-double, with 16 points and 11 boards. Reid Shackelford (JR/Murrieta, CA) of the Mustangs had an impressive game with 21 points.