Comets stumble late in game versus Yuba


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Comet forward Larissa Carvalho goes up for a shot as she is contested by 49er Gloria Leon-Campos during Contra Costa College’s 64-57 loss to Yuba College on Feb. 20 in the Gymnasium.

By Kyle Grant, Advocate Staff

After trading baskets for much of what was a tight game, the women’s basketball team was unable to emerge victorious in a game marred by sloppy ball handling and late-game heroics by Yuba College.

The Comets fell 64-57 Feb. 20 in the Gymnasium.

Contra Costa College Coach Vince Shaw said, “We played a great game. We just couldn’t finish it in the end. We tried to get something going at the end there, but that last turnover was costly. But they played very well and for that I can’t get frustrated. It’s on to the next one.”

CCC’s all-sophomore starting lineup received a standing ovation in their final home game before taking the court with hopes of reversing an early season loss to Yuba.

The Comets were able to capitalize on Yuba’s inconsistent first quarter shooting, as the Comet front line dominated the defensive boards.

The team was led by sophomore forwards Larissa Carvalho (21 points, 17 rebounds, 4 steals) and Keyauna Harrison.

However, the team’s season-long Achilles heel, turnovers, plagued the Comets again. Mistakes allowed the 49ers to keep the game close with CCC, who nursed a one-point 11-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Inconsistent shooting kept the game close throughout the second quarter, as neither team was able to assert itself. Halfway through the period the game was tied at 16.

Following a timeout, Yuba surprised the Comets by employing a full court press leaving CCC struggling to move the ball beyond half court. However, Yuba was unable to capitalize on a strategy that offered ample opportunities for success.

A 3-pointer by Janelle Pansoy gave the Comets a short-lived lead, only to see Yuba respond immediately when 49er Nia Williams drained her own 3-point shot.

Both teams played to a stalemate until three minutes before halftime when the Comets erupted into a 9-3 run. The streak was led by sophomore Victoria Lopez (14 points, eight rebounds, five assists) and two freshmen, Sicilly Sorrell and Jenna Husic.

Their experience will offer a bit of stability next season.

“As far as next season goes, I’m exited to take the incoming freshman under my wing and help them adjust to the faster pace at this level,” Sorrell said.

Yuba quickly responded, using a bucket from beyond the arc by guard Esme Quintana to cut into the Comets’ lead, and a steal by teammate Alexys Holder, who went the length of the court for a layup, to beat the buzzer.

At halftime, the Comets led Yuba 28-26.

Comet assistant coach Teri Williams was pleased with her team’s first half play.

“We told them to keep that same intensity. They played well in the first half. They just need to finish and take care of the ball.”

Yuba was able to wrestle the lead from CCC early in the second half, which saw the Comets down by a single point with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

However, a costly Comet turnover led to a 7-0 run by Yuba, as Jenna Wilson slipped into the passing lane for a steal and found her teammate, who drained a 3-pointer.

In the blink of an eye, the Comets found themselves facing a 43-35 deficit.

Shaw could be heard instructing his team to remain active on the boards, a statistic the Comets had dominated all game.

Despite facing an eight-point deficit midway through the quarter, the Comets used a late surge in the quarter to close within two points.

After trading baskets early in the fourth quarter, the Comets’ Kristyle King stole an errant Yuba pass and went the length of the floor to pull her team within a single point.

Yuba responded with a 3-pointer, to go up by four.

Lopez drained consecutive jumpers for CCC from downtown, giving her team some momentum and a 2-point lead at 53-51.

But with less than three minutes remaining and Shaw imploring his team to play smart, the Comets were unable to keep pace in the face of a full-court press.

After missing an opportunity to take a four-point lead, Yuba’s pressure proved too much to overcome and forced the Comets into a costly turnover. It was a play from which they simply could not recover.