W. Basketball: Rodriguez & Saldivar combine for 49 points for the Falcons

Rayne Rodriguez drives in for two of her career-high 26 points
Rayne Rodriguez drives in for two of her career-high 26 points

Led by the hot shooting of sophomore Damarie Saldivar (Paramount HS) in the third quarter, the Cerritos College women's basketball team opened up a sizable 47-31 lead over visiting Los Angeles Pierce College with 4:55 left in the stanza on Wednesday. The lead reached it's largest after freshman Rayne Rodriguez (La Serna HS) completed a four-point play. Unfortunately, the Falcons were limited to a season-low four points in the fourth quarter and were forced to go to overtime, where they fell, 69-66 to the Brahmas (9-2). Cerritos (2-8) will host San Diego Mesa College at 5:00 p.m. on Friday.

The game started with the Falcons trailing, 13-2 in the first quarter. Injuries to two of LA Pierce's starters in the first half just two minutes apart changed the game plan for both teams. Sisters Derricka and Miracle Millinghaus, two of the Brahmas top scorers, were forced out of the game, which prompted them to switch to an inside game against the Falcons. On the other hand, Cerritos intended to score from the outside.

With the game tied, 20-20 in the second quarter, Saldivar gave the Falcons their first lead with a three-pointer, as Cerritos went into halftime leading, 28-25. Consecutive three-pointers from freshmen Jayden Estrada (Anaheim HS) and Rodriguez saw the lead swell to 38-27, with Rodriguez accounting for seven straight points, with the four-point play marking the largest lead of the night.

Adjusting their play, LA Pierce received consecutive driving shots from Chassen Gutierrez to start their comeback, as Cerritos scored just two points in the final 4:55 of the third quarter. The scoring slump continued through the fourth quarter, as they team combined to shoot 3-for-20 once they held their largest lead.

By contrast, LA Pierce also turned to their inside game with Tijera Henry, who accounted for 23 of her 26 points in the second half and overtime. 

Cerritos had several chances to win the game in regulation, but missed a pair of three-pointers and turned the ball over in the final minute.

A three-pointer from Rodriguez with 2:54 remaining in overtime tied the game at 59-59, while Saldivar drained a pair of free throws with 1:20 left to once again tie the game at 61-61. Trailing by a point after LA Pierce converted one of two free throws, the Falcons turned the ball over in their inbound pass, and the Brahmas converted a layup for a 62-59 advantage with 57 seconds left. Then, with 25 seconds left and the Falcons down, 66-63 after a pair of Brahmahs free throws, Cerritos had the ball for what could have been the final shot. However, they attempted a three-pointer with 23 seconds left on the clock and Pierce converted three of their final four free throws to seal the win.

Rodriguez finished with a career-high 26 points, which included five three-pointers, while Saldivar added 23 points, eight steals, six assists and four rebounds. Prior to fouling out, sophomore Melana Goodloe (Warren HS) pulled down 13 rebounds.

Photos by Daryl Peterson