Orange Coast takes down Santa Rosa in overtime to move into Sunday's state championship

(Jon Marley, CCCAA)
(Jon Marley, CCCAA)

Tournament Central

LEMOORE - Orange Coast capitalized on a 25-point, 11-rebound double-double from Meghan McIntyre, and three other players scored in double-figures as the Pirates returned to the CCCAA Women's Basketball Championship game after posting a thrilling 80-75 overtime win over Santa Rosa Junior College in a semifinal matchup at West Hills College Lemoore on Saturday evening.

The win sends the Pirates (31-1) into Sunday's championship matchup against either Butte or Palomar who were battling in the second semifinal on Saturday night. Tipoff is 3:30 p.m. and the game can be viewed online at Santa Rosa, the second seed from the North, ended its terrific season with a 29-3 record. Lucca Lowenberg scored 25 points to help lead the Bear Cubs while Ashleigh Barr had a strong double-double with 18 points and 18 rebounds.

Orange Coast led after each of the first three quarters but Santa Rosa rallied in the fourth and eventually took a 66-64 lead after Lowenberg's three-pointer with 2 minutes, 19 seconds left. Annie Trinh, whose 17 points tied Karina Cabrera for most on the team behind McIntyre, was fouled beyond the three-point line 30 seconds later and converted all three free throw attempts to put the Pirates back in front, 68-67. The teams traded the lead until McIntyre made one of two from the line to make it 70-70 with 37 seconds to go.

Both teams had chances in the final seconds to take the lead but couldn't convert, sending them to extra time.

Gabby Samiy's layup and four points from McIntyre sparked a 5-1 run out of the gate for Orange Coast while led 76-71 midway through the overtime period. The Pirates' lead was 78-73 with 55 seconds left but Lowenberg scored inside and Barr grabbed one of her 18 boards to give the Bear Cubs a chance to tie with 25 seconds remaining. A three-point try from Lanie Lincoln with nine ticks on the clock was just off the mark and Orange Coast rebounded and made ensuing free throws to seal the win. 

Orange Coast entered the postseason as the South region's top seed but head coach Sammy Doucette said her squad didn't rely on that lofty seed to propel them through the postseason.

"We're probably the most overlooked No. 1 seed," she said. "We're a bunch of nice (women) from Orange County who really (ground) it out tonight. We'd fall behind a little bit and then, 'Okay, we'll get it back."

Orange Coast led 16-10 after the first quarter but scored seven of the game's nine points over a latter portion of the second quarter to take a 29-18 lead, its biggest of the game. Santa Rosa answered by scoring eight of the final 11 points before halftime to cut the lead to just 32-26 at the break. Lowenberg's layup made it just a 34-33 deficit early in the third quarter and the Bear Cubs stayed close until the fourth quarter. 

Trailing 61-57 midway through the final period, Santa Rosa scored four straight to tie the game with 3:38 to go. Lowenberg's trey just over a minute later gave the Bear Cubs a 66-64 lead, setting the exciting final minutes and overtime. 

Samiy had a trio of three-pointers and scored 16 points for the Pirates while Seiler reached double-figures in rebounds with 10. 

Orange Coast will be looking for its first state championship since beating Contra Costa, 69-61, in 2003.

(Mike Robles, CCCAA)