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@ Ventura 86, Irvine Valley 37

SoCal Regional Semi-Finals

February 29, 2008

Box Score

 

     Pirate sophomores Jenelle Conklin and Indira Kaljo scored 22 and 20 points, respectively, to turn the lights out on the Lasers of Irvine Valley 86-37 in the Regional Semi- Finals of the state playoffs at the Athletic Event Center Friday night.  VC will host Saddleback on Saturday March 8 at 5:30 pm in the first regional final in Ventura since 2004.

     Ventura (28-5) took control early with buckets on consecutive possessions by Kaljo and Conklin, making the score 4-0, barely a minute into the game.  Irvine (18-13) came back with a 3-pointer with 18:06 on the clock before Kaljo buried her own trifecta on the next possession.  With VC leading 7-5,  Michelle Santizo started a 12-4 Pirate run by turning a steal into a lay-up for Conklin at the 15:50 mark.  Conklin nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing with 12:29 on the clock to end the run with a 19-9 Pirate advantage.  The Pirates would double up the Lasers on a pair of Conklin free throws at the 8:56 mark, making the score 26-13, and Conklin turned a Santizo assist into an old-fashioned 3-point play with a bucket and a Charity toss with 8:30 remaining, making the score 29-13.  The Pirate lead slowly, but steadily increased throughout the half with Eja Wong hitting a 3-pointer from the left wing off of Julie Heurung's assist at the buzzer, giving Ventura a 42-20 halftime advantage.

     If there was any doubt about the game's outcome, the Pirates answered it quickly.  After allowing a pair of IVC free throws to begin the half, the Pirates went on an 11-0 run over four minutes to put the contest out of reach.  Sara Nicholson began the sprint with a bucket at the 19:01 mark and Conklin connected from 17 feet to make the score 53-22 with 16:12 remaining in the game.  Despite a couple of short scoring droughts, the Pirates kept the hammer down for the rest of the game, continuing to build on their advantage.  Nicholson connected on a pair of free throws to put VC up by 40, 71-31, with 8:46 remaining, and Kaljo's charity toss at the 4:54 mark extended the lead to 45, 80-35.  The Ventura bench guided the ship into port with the 86-37 win.

     Conklin had her best night of the season, connecting on eight of nine field goal attempts, including hitting her only 3-point attempt, and she hit all five of her free throws en route to her team-high 22 points.  She also pulled down seven rebounds while dishing out three assists and grabbing two steals.  Kaljo connected for 20 points while grabbing a team-high eight boards, with three assists.  Santizo netted 11 points while handing out six dimes and Heurung hit for 13 points with five rebounds.  Wong had six rebounds and five assists.

     The Pirates advance to the state "Sweet 16", and they will host Saddleback College, an 84-59 winner over Canyons, in the regional final next Saturday, March 8 at 5:30 pm.  It will be the first regional final at the Athletic Event Center since 2004 when VC advanced to the state "Final Four."  The game will be followed by the Pirate Men's team regional final against Bakersfield at 7:30 pm.