2012-2013 Women's Basketball Preview--Parks' Shining Debut Leads Lancers' Opening Win
Last season was a trying one at times for Pasadena City College women's basketball head coach Joe Peron. A perennial state power, the Lancers struggled in South Coast Conference play last season and while the team came on strong late in the year, the team did not advance to the third round of regional playoffs for the first time since 2002.
The team's 17-13 final record also was indicative of a rare off season for a program that won the 2009 CCCAA state title and had a run of seven straight appearances at the state championship tournament. One reason the Lancers failed last year was the lack of rebounding and lack of an inside presence other than Tonisha Lacey (graduated, now at Prarie View A&M University).
Peron and his recruiting staff, including assistant coaches La'Nette Dillard, Kinyada Johnson, and Beverly Powell, added height and a renewed rebounding strength for the 2012-2013 Lancers. The cream of the freshmen crop is 6-foot-4 center Kaitlyn Parks (Barstow High), an All-Area sensation from the Desert Sky League.
Parks looked like a seasoned veteran in her collegiate debut as she scored 19 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the Lancers over Southwestern, 67-59, Friday night in the season-opening, PCC-hosted Veteran's Day Classic. Held at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium, the six team, round-robin tournament continues through Sunday, Nov. 11. PCC was rated No. 10 in the state pre-season poll.
PCC (1-0) plays Irvine Valley, a 72-30 winner over Taft, tonight at 7 p.m. On Sunday, the Lancers conclude the Veteran's Day Classic with a 4 p.m. tipoff against long-time rival Cypress College.
Parks was an impressive 8-for-10 from the field, three times following up with offensive rebounds and put-ups for baskets. Returning All-South Coast Conference sharp shooter and guard Stella Ghazarian added 18 points, nailing five 3-pointers, to go with seven rebounds. Off the bench, guard Desiree Loving impressed with eight points, six rebounds, and a team-high four steals. Loving (from Compton's Centennial High) was 4-for-4 at the free throw line as PCC shot just 50 percent from the stripe, 15-for-30.
"For a first game, I was very pleased with how we played," Peron said. "Kaitlyn is a real force out there and supplied us with exactly what we need in the paint. One thing that also I felt good about was the return of Shay Jackson to the court after three years away. She's our point guard and to see her finally get back to action was important for our program."
Jackson, who did look rusty, scored five points and made three assists, but showed speed on both sides of the court, another problem area for the team last season. The 5-4 sophomore Jackson is from Castlemont High in Oakland and red-shirted last year.
Starting letterman guard Sabrina Martinez played well on defense and finished with five points, a team-high six assists, and three steals. Averie-Alice Guzman, a 5-11 freshman forward from Burbank's Bellarmine-Jefferson High, rounded out the opening-night starting lineup. Guzman totaled three points, three assists and two rebounds, but is expected to be a big contributor on the boards this season.
Off the bench, Brianna Simmons, a 6-2 center from Centennial, scored five points and grabbed three rebounds while returning sophomore guard Kahlia Theus also tallied five points. Six-foot forward Brandi Dubose (Muir High) and 5-10 forward Sarah Jackson (Bonita High, four rebounds) also saw playing time in the opener.
PCC will await the debut of Tyler Crockom, a 5-10 frosh guard from Pasadena High. Rounding out the Lancers' '12-13 roster are frosh guard Angeline Jefferson (Maranatha HS), 5-10 guard Jimicia Brewer (from Canada), and guard Tatiana Shnorhavorian (Burbank High). Peron added a new assistant coach in Wade Kirchmeyer and continues to use the services of Gary Potts, director of basketball operations.
"We feel like we have the right blend of sophomores and freshmen to really make a comeback near the top of the SCC this season," Peron said. "We have some height, we have speed, strong defense, and clutch outside shooting. The opening game showed we're ready for the season."
In defeat, Southwestern was paced by Chelsea Ball with 14 points and 17 rebounds. In the other opening round game, Citrus downed Cypress, 67-54.
[Photo--PCC's Kaitlyn Parks (40) rejects the shot attempt by Southwestern's Danielle Wilson during the Lancers' opening night win Friday, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]