May 24, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Laser women’s basketball team captures title at IVC tournament

IVC’s all-tournament player Zoe Stachowski (left), Coach Julie Hanks and tournament MVP Lexi Vail celebrate after the Lasers defeated El Camino in the championship of the Irvine Valley Tournament on Saturday

Irvine Valley’s women’s basketball team played its best game of the season so far and at just the right time.

The Lasers, ranked No. 15 in So. Cal., defeated No. 6 El Camino 74-56 to win their own Irvine Valley Tournament for the second straight season.

Irvine Valley won its third straight game in the tournament to improve its record to 5-1 overall. El Camino, which was also ranked No. 17 in the state and coming off winning the Cypress Tournament last weekend, dropped to 8-3 overall.

The Lasers were paced by sophomore guard Lexi Vail (JSerra High), who was named tournament MVP. She finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals, while playing nearly all 40 minutes. She fouled out with just seconds left in the contest. Vail made 7 of 13 shots from the floor, including 3 of 6 from three-point range and sank 6 of 8 free throws for the Lasers.

Freshman guard Anai Washington added 15 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals and freshman guard Megan Herrera had 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Irvine Valley also got eight points from sophomore forward Ryane Bradbury (Edison High) and five points, 12 rebounds and four blocks from freshman center Zoe Stachowski, who was named to the all-tournament team.

El Camino was paced by Jordan Hixon, who finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and three steals, Salihah Bey, who had 14 points and nine rebounds and Ashley Nguyen, who ended with 14 points and four assists. Nguyen was named to the all-tournament team.

El Camino had a tough time shooting. The Warriors shot just 26.2 percent (16 of 61) from the field in the game, including only 21.2 percent (7 of 33) in the first half when Irvine Valley jumped out to a big lead.

The teams traded baskets to start the game and then Irvine Valley went on a 14-0 run to take control.

Stachowski scored to make it 4-2 and then Vail hit a three-pointer with 6:51 left in the first quarter to give Irvine Valley a 7-2 advantage.

A layup by Vail after an El Camino turnover made it 9-2 and the Lasers were off.

A basket by Bradbury put Irvine Valley ahead, 11-2, and then Washington got out on the break and made a layup to give Irvine Valley a 14-2 lead with 4:32 left in the first quarter.

Another layup by Washington off a Herrera assist capped Irvine Valley’s run and gave the Lasers a 16-2 lead with 3:56 left in the quarter.

Irvine Valley never looked back.

The Lasers led, 23-8, at the end of the first quarter and, 36-21, at the end of the first half.

Irvine Valley’s largest lead was 22 points early in the third quarter.

The Lasers ended up shooting 46.8 percent (29 of 62) from the field and out-rebounded El Camino, 52-40.

IVC also had 38 points in the paint and 14 fastbreak points.

It was the fifth time that Irvine Valley has won the tournament title in the 14 years of the event.

Irvine Valley Tournament

Final day results, Dec. 8:

Consolation Final: Rio Hondo def. Cuesta, 70-59

Third-place Game: Santa Monica def. Barstow, 47-45

Championship: Irvine Valley def. El Camino, 74-56

All-Tournament Team

Amy Navarro – Rio Hondo

Ariana Quintana – Santa Monica

Anne Marie Hernandez – Barstow

Ashley Nguyen – El Camino

Zoe Stachowski – Irvine Valley

MVP – Lexi Vail – Irvine Valley