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Santa Rosa Junior College Athletics

Bear Cubs fall in Round 2 of Playoffs

Lucca Lowenberg Driving against Modesto

SRJC 65, College of the Sequoias 68

            For their second round matchup in the State NorCal Playoffs the #10 seed Bear Cubs (19-10) traveled to Visalia to take on the #7 seed Giants (19-9) of the College of the Sequoias, who had a first round bye. Lucia Ricci took the Giants' first shot and swished the 3-pointer. Forty-five seconds later Lucca Lowenberg tied the score with her own 3-pointer. Kyla Wandick scored on a drive, and Meredith Gilbertson's putback tied the game again. Taylor Whitfield drained a 3-pointer and Wandick sank another field goal for a 10-5 lead at the 6:05 mark. Lowenberg drove toward the hoop, reverse-pivoted, and spun around the defender to bank in the shot. Geizzle Jones put in a basket, and then Ivy Gonzalez cut in and caught Reese Searcy's assist next to the hoop, cutting the Giants' lead to 9-12 with 5:25 on the clock. Andrea Perez turned a Bear Cubs' bad pass into an easy layup. During the next 3:22 the Bear Cubs made four shots in a row—Gilbertson's low post move, Searcy's coast-to-coast layup after grabbing a defensive rebound, Lowenberg's 1-footer off of Searcy's baseline inbounds pass, and Searcy's drive—to close the gap to 17-20. Lowenberg scored on a fast break layup with 10 seconds left, cutting their deficit to 19-20 by the end of the period.

            The Bear Cubs began the second quarter with the ball and Lucca Lowenberg cut back door then caught Meredith Gilbertson's assist pass near the hoop. The Giants scored two field goals in a row before Meredith Gilbertson's successful drive from the high post and then Praise Nigimar's drive from the wing. Sarah Upshaw's two free throws at the 7:38 mark put the Giants ahead 26-25. Reese Searcy drew a shooting foul on two consecutive drives and made all four free throws for a 29-26 advantage. Anisa Torres sank a field goal; Ivy Gonzalez made two free throws; and then Taylor Whitfield made a 2-pointer with 5:12 on the clock. Kyla Wandick put in two baskets in a row to re-take the lead at 34-31. Meredith Gilbertson was fouled on a shot attempt and made one free throw. Lowenberg scored the Bear Cubs' last two points of the period on a steal and layup with 1:15 left. With just three seconds remaining, Wandick converted a 3-point play on a strong drive to the basket to give her team a 37-34 lead at halftime.

            The Bear Cubs started the third quarter with a 7-0 run during the first two minutes on Ivy Gonzalez's fast break layup off of Reese Searcy's assist, Searcy's 3-point play on a cut and assist pass from Meredith Gilbertson, and Gilbertson's drive for a 41-37 lead. Kyla Wandick made one free throw at the 7:18 mark. Lucca Lowenberg swished a 3-pointer, and then so did Wandick. Gilbertson's reverse layup followed by her underhanded flip shot next to the basket off of Ivy Gonzalez's assist made the Bear Cubs' lead 48-41 with 5:20 on the clock. The Giants scored the next four points on Lucia Ricci's basket and two free throws by Anisa Torres. Praise Nigimar hit a 3-pointer from above the free throw circle, and Searcy's left handed drive from the right side with 2:46 left put the Bear Cubs ahead 53-47. Geizzle Jones sank a basket and 18 seconds later Maycee Hunter scored on a drive. Jones dropped in her second field goal in a row to complete the scoring in the period with the Bear Cubs in front 55-51.

            Meredith Gilbertson's putback on the Bear Cubs' first possession of the fourth quarter prompted the Giants' coach to call a timeout. JJ Martinez's 3-pointer at the 8:50 mark widened the Bear Cubs' lead to 60-51. The Bear Cubs missed their next eight shots while the Giants added five free throws and three field goals to grab the lead 62-60 with 4:45 on the clock. Reese Searcy hit a 16-footer with 3:05 left. Fifty seconds later Meredith Gilbertson went to the free throw line and made one for a 63-62 lead. Lucia Ricci sank a basket, and then Reese Searcy scored on a drive with 1:25 remaining. The Giants missed their next shot, but they grabbed the offensive rebound and soon passed to a wide open Ricci in the key for an easy basket, putting them ahead 66-65 with 28 seconds to go. The Bear Cubs called a timeout and drew up a play, but they ended up turning the ball over and tried in vain to foul. The Giants passed ahead to Ricci, who again put in an easy basket for a 68-65 margin with 9 seconds remaining. The Bear Cubs called a timeout and inbounded the ball from the front court sideline. They were not able to get their 3-point shooters the ball, and their final desperation shot was blocked, resulting in a 68-65 win the by the host Giants.

            In the third quarter the Bear Cubs made 56% of their shots (9 out of 16), while holding the Giants to 25% (5 out of 20), enabling them to outscore their hosts 21-14. But the Bear Cubs made only 4 out of 16 shots (25%) in the fourth quarter and committed four turnovers, allowing the Giants to outscore them 17-10 and claim the 3-point victory. Kyla Wandick led all scorers with 31 points. Lucia Ricci totaled 13 points, six of which came in the final two minutes of the game.

            Reese Searcy led the Bear Cubs in scoring with 17 points, including 5 out of 5 from the free throw line. Meredith Gilbertson registered her seventh double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Lucca Lowenberg made two 3-pointers and totaled 16 points. Ivy Gonzalez, who injured her knee in the third quarter and was unable to return to action, finished with 6 points and 7 rebounds. Praise Nigimar added 5 points, JJ Martinez 3, and Maycee Hunter 2. Reese Searcy and Meredith Gilbertson each passed for 5 assists.