Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chargers End Year at Ventura

Chargers second-half comeback attempt falls short on the road.


Donna Ka' anoi
Ventura, Calif. - The Cypress College women's basketball team finished off an impressive season that included winning the Orange Empire Conference Title, a sweep of Fullerton College in two OEC contests and a first round victory over Long Beach City College on the road in the playoffs.

This young Cypress squad has a lot to be proud of, and a good chance to make a deep run in the playoffs next season with many of its key parts returning next year to play as sophomores.

Head coach Margaret Mohr would have loved to make a second straight trip to the State Championship Tournament this season, but Ventura proved to be tough down the stretch. After overcoming a first-half deficit coming out of the locker room, Cypress got right back in the game, but a late run by the Pirates put it away.

Sophomore team captain Donna Ka' anoi knew this might be her last game in a Charger uniform, and made sure that she didn't leave anything on the court. Ka' anoi scored a team-high 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting for Cypress, while collecting a team-high four steals. Lynzie Numata and Chelsea Walton both finished tied for second on the team in scoring with six points apiece. Sloan Turner pulled down a team-leading 10 boards, while Samantha Soria dished out three assists to lead the team.

In a matchup that pitted two of the top defensive squads in the state, offense was at a premium all night long. Both teams traded baskets and played tight defense for much of the first half. Cypress went ahead 21-20 with 4 minutes left in the half, but an 11-0 run by Ventura to close out the period sent the Chargers into the locker room trailing by 10.

Cypress came out of the locker room fired up and quickly went on a 7-2 run that cut the deficit in half to make it 33-28.

Ventura stretched its lead back to eight points with a three pointer that made it a 36-28 ballgame, but Cypress went into lockdown mode after that bucket with a suffocating defensive effort that held the Pirates scoreless for nearly four minutes, and got the Chargers right back in the game with a 9-1 run to make it 37-36 with just over nine minutes left to play in regulation.

After Cypress missed on multiple opportunities to take the lead over Ventura, the momentum began to shift the Pirates way. Eight straight points from the free throw put Ventura up 45-39 with 6:17 to go. The Chargers weren't able to stop Ventura's 14-9 run down the stretch, as the Pirates pulled away with an 59-48 playoff victory at home.

After the initial sting of this playoff loss wears off, the Lady Chargers will have some time to reflect on this season and begin planning for 2012-13. With an elusive Orange Empire Conference championship already under their belts, next year's Cypress College women's basketball team should have a good shot at reaching its second CCCAA State tounament in the past three years.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Road Warriors - Chargers Dominate LBCC in 65-52 Win

Cypress College outscores Long Beach City College 35-14 in the second half to move on.
Chelsea Walton
Long Beach, Calif. - The No. 10 seeded Cypress College women's basketball team used a dominating second half performance to knock No. 7 seed Long Beach City College out of the playoffs, with a 65-52 victory on the road Friday night.

After heading into the locker room at halftime trailing 38-32, the Charger coaching staff made a brilliant decision to pull back its trademark full-court defensive pressure - something they hadn't done in years - and force the Vikings to execute their offense in a half court set.

The defensive shift by Cypress turned the entire game around after the break, and left the Long Beach City coaching staff scratching their heads for an answer to the Chargers suffocating half court defense.

Cypress went on an 8-0 run to open the period and never looked back. The Chargers finished the second half by outscoring the host Vikings 32-14, which included a defensive clinic that only allowed the Long Beach City to shoot 10.5 percent in the second half on 4 of 38 shooting from the floor, including an 0 for 8 effort from beyond the arc. That was quite a contrast from the first half, when LBCC used its fast break opportunities to shoot 55.2 percent from the field by making 16 of 29 shot attempts.

Long Beach City couldn't stop Cypress' punishing inside attack on the other end of the court either. The Chargers imposed their will on the glass to out-rebound the Vikings 53-43 for the game, and abuse them for 22 second-chance points.

Freshman Chelsea Walton stepped up big for the Chargers in the second period by scoring 10 of her team-leading 16 points after intermission. Fellow frosh Sloan Turner scored eight points after halftime to finish with 12 points on 5 of 8 shooting from the field.

Cypress' twin towers, Turner and Melissa Jensen, combined for 21 rebounds, with Jensen grabbing a team-high 11, including seven in the second period.

Nikki Perkins and Jensen each finished with eight points, while Jessica Romero and Denshay Wallace both added four points off the bench. Sam Soria had three points for the Chargers, and Tera Salhus, Donna Ka' anoi, Jonell Bowers, Ivory Hallstein and Kaitlyn Roche all chipped in with two points apiece.

After trailing very early on, Cypress took its first lead of the game with 16:11 to play in the first half, when Walton hit a layup to put the Chargers up 7-5. Both squads continued to trade baskets for much of the first half, and it looked like it would be a tight battle until the very end.

With 11:16 on the clock, Bowers drained a three pointer to give Cypress a 14-11 advantage, but LBCC came back with two quick scores to go up by a point less than a minute later.

Walton tied the game at 20-20 with 7:32 to go in the half before the Vikings went on an 18-13 run to close out the first period and head into the locker room clinging to a 38-33 lead over the Chargers.

You could sense something special was about to happen when the Chargers emerged from the locker room to warm up before the second half of play. For the Chargers, losing was never even an option, despite trailing by six points, on the road, to a team that had beaten them earlier this season.

Less than a minute in, Salus hit a layup for Cypress to spark an 8-0 run to open the second period. Ka' anoi made a jumper to cut the deficit to one, then Jensen scored the next four points of the game to put the Chargers ahead 41-38 with 16:05 to play in the game.

Cypress never trailed again.

LBCC got back to withing one-point at 43-42 with 14:06 to left on the clock, but that was the closest they would get the rest of the night. Cypress clearly looked like the better team down the stretch to pull away from the Vikings with a 21-10 run to close out the period.

At the 11:08 mark, Perkins hit from downtown to give the Chargers a 47-42 lead, then minutes later, Turner would stretch Cypress' lead to six points when she ripped down the board off of a Jensen miss, and put it back in for a layup that made it a 50-44 ballgame.

Walton put the Chargers up by nine points with 4:40 to go in the game when she converted a three-point play with a layup and a basket from the free throw line. Walton would go on to score the next five points for the Chargers from the line as well, to open up a commanding 62-50 lead over Long Beach City with only 1:28 to play in the game.

Jensen found Turner with just under a minute on the clock to give the Chargers their largest lead of the game at 64-50, and Soria made a free throw with 30 seconds left on the clock to close the book on the Chargers 65-52 come-from-behind victory over Long Beach City College on its own court.

The Chargers will now await the results from the No. 2 seed Ventura College vs. No. 15 seed Pasadena City College matchup on Saturday night to learn who their next opponent will be.
If Ventura wins at home, Cypress will play on the road next Wednesday, February 27 at 7 p.m.. If Pasadena City College pulls off an upset at Ventura, the Chargers will host their third round matchup at home next Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Cypress College vs. Long Beach City College Photogallery

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chargers Begin Playoff Run at LBCC this Friday

No. 11 seed Cypress College will go on the road to face No. 7 seed Long Beach City College 

Women's Basketball Playoff Brackets

Men's Basketball Playoff Brackets
Melissa Jensen
Cypress, Calif. - No. 11 seed Cypress College begins its 2011-12 playoff run this Friday at 7 p.m., with a road contest at No. 7 seed Long Beach City College. The CCCAA women's basketball regional seedings were released for the North and South Regional Playoff Brackets today. 

The Chargers finished off a spectacular regular season with a Co-Orange Empire Conference Championship after posting a 10-2 mark in league play, that included a sweep of the other Co-OEC champ Fullerton College.

Winning on the road in the playoffs is nothing new for Cypress head coach Margaret Mohr's Chargers. Last season, Cypress had to win three straight road games on its way to the State Championship Final Four - where the Chargers finished the season with a third-place finish in the final state rankings.

That squad was weighted heavily with talented sophomores, which included State Player of the Year, Micaela Pickens. After helping guide the Chargers to the State Championship semi-final last season, Pickens received a full-ride to go to Arizona State where she currently plays now.

After losing all of that sophomore talent, Mohr wasn't sure if this young team - that only has five sophomores on the roster - had the experience to win an OEC title. 

"I'm so proud of the job those girls did this season," Mohr said. "They put the time in to be successful and it paid off."

The Chargers will get a chance to show how much they've improved since the beginning of the season, when they travel to Long Beach City College for a rematch with the Vikings. On November 3, Cypress lost to the Vikings 49-40, in a game both squads would probably like to forget. With only a few college games under their belts at the time, Cypress committed a lot of turnovers, and put LBCC in position to win. 

It's been more than three-and-a-half months, 22 games, and a conference championship since thenfor a Charger team that has matured tremendously during that time. Their OEC schedule left them battle tested, and they've proven that they can win big games when they have to.

In the playoffs, every game could be their last, so we will soon find out if this year's team can put Cypress College back in the State Championship Final Four for a second straight season.

Friday's game will be web-streamed LIVE on the Cypress College Athletics website, and on the Cypress College UStream channel at 7 p.m. on Friday night from Long Beach City College. Click on the UStream tab at the top of the Athletics page to watch the game there, or you can click on the Watch Now Cypress Chargers Live link located on the right side of the homepage.  If you can't make it to the game, make sure you tune in to cheer on the Chargers as they begin their run for a state title.
All games are to be hosted by the higher seeded teams with a 7 p.m. tip-off. In the event of a doubleheader, game times shall be at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Men's and Women's Basketball Receive Awards

Four Lady Chargers, two men's basketball players and a head coach received OEC honors.

Andre Winn
Cypress, Calif. - The awards keep racking up for Cypress College basketball this weekend. Two days after the women's basketball team brought home the fourth Orange Empire Conference championship in school history, four Lady Chargers were named to the All-Conference team, while head coach Margaret Mohr earned OEC Co-Coach of the Year honors. 

For the men's basketball program, sophomore guard Andre Winn, was named to the All-OEC First Team, while freshman forward Montel Taylor, was tabbed Honorable Mention.

Melissa Jensen
Sophomore forward Melissa Jensen, and freshman center Sloan Turner were both named as OEC First-Team All-Conference selections, after helping lead the Chargers to a share of the OEC championship with a 10-2 record in the OEC. 

Jensen came to the Chargers all the way from North Carolina this past off season, and it proved to be a good decision for herself, and the Chargers, as she led the team with an 11 points per game average, and 6.8 rebounds per game average in conference play.

Sloan Turner
The future looks bright for Charger freshman, Sloan Turner after a great first season that included a team-high 9.0 rpg average. Turner was also a major contributor on the offensive end of the court for Cypress with an 8.1 ppg average against OEC opponents.
Donna Ka' anoi
Sophomore captain Donna Ka' anoi, and freshman guard Chelsea Walton were named as All-OEC Second Team selections for their vital contributions in conference play.

Ka'anoi finished tied for second on the team with 15 steals in OEC games, but it was her leadership, both on-and-off the court, that helped the Chargers bring home an OEC title. Her 23.3 minutes per game average made her one of the most used Chargers as well. 
Chelsea Walton
Walton stepped up big as the season progressed. After starting the year on the bench, Walton played her way into a starting spot, and finished with a team-leading 30 assists in OEC games, while averaging 6.6 ppg.

Men's basketball team captain, Andre Winn, earned All-OEC First Team honors after leading the conference in points (247), points per game (21.6), field goals made (75) and free throws made (72) in OEC legue play. Winn also had the season high in points scored with 41 against Santa Ana. 

Montel Taylor
Taylor was named as an Honorable Mention after leading the OEC in rebounds (104), rebounding average (8.7) and offensive rebounds (52) in conference games.

Cypress head coach Margaret Mohr earned Co-Coach of the Year honors after leading the Chargers to their fourth conference championship in school history, and third under her guidance. Mohr led Cypress to CCCAA State Championship in 2004-05, before winning the conference crown in 2005-06, three years later in 2008-09, and after another three years, again this season.
Margaret Mohr
"At the beginning of the year, I didn't think we had the experience to win a conference title this season. With only four returning sophomores from last year's team, I thought we might be a year away," Mohr said. "I'm just so proud of how hard these girls worked to dedicate themselves to doing what it takes to reach this goal. Conference championships don't come along that often, so these girls have a lot to be proud of for what they've accomplished this season."

In all, three coaches were honored as Co-Coaches of the Year. Along with Mohr, Fullerton head coach Debi Woelke was selected, after leading the Hornets to a share of OEC Championship with Cypress College - despite losing both head-to-head meetings with the Chargers. 

The third coach honored this year was Riverside's Alicia Berber. After mid-season suspensions left the Tigers with just seven players on the roster to play out the remainder of its conference schedule, Berber kept the team together, and guided RCC to a fifth place finish in the OEC.

Cypress College Award Winners

Women's Basketball All-OEC

First Team

Melissa Jensen, Sloan Turner
Second Team
Donna Ka' anoi, Chelsea Walton
Coach of the Year
Margaret Mohr

Men's Basketball All-OEC

First Team

Andre Winn
Honorable Mention
Montel Taylor

All Men's and Women's Basketball Orange Empire Conference Award Winners

Women's Basketball
Fullerton¹s Aunjanay Chambers was selected as the Orange Empire
Conference Player of the Year after helping the Hornets to a share of the
conference title. Chambers, a sophomore out of Valencia High School in
Placentia, CA, averaged 18.1 points a game, 7.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and
3.8 steals a game.

First Team
Melissa Jensen, Cypress; Sloan Turner, Cypress; Aunjanay Chambers, Fullerton; Alexandra Coleman-Thomas, Fullerton; Shalae Edwards, Saddleback; Janelle Flores, Santa Ana; Shomari McCorkle, Irvine Valley; Anna Nguyen, Santa Ana;  Amber Wharton, Irvine Valley; Heather Wohlk, Riverside

Second Team
Donna Ka' anoi, Cypress; Chelsea Walton, Cypress; Chanel Benson, Fullerton; Megan Blackwell, Irvine Valley; Ashley Engeln, Orange Coast; Loren Gurrola, Fullerton; Donna Ka' anoi, Cypress; Melanie Kashanchi, Irvine Valley; Shala Kirkpatrick, Saddleback; Carlisha Phillips, Fullerton; Donquenae Townsend, Saddleback;

Player of the Year
Aunjanay Chambers, Fullerton

Coaches of the Year
Margaret Mohr, Cypress; Debi Woelke, Fullerton; Alicia
Berber, Riverside

Men's Basketball Award Winners
Saddleback¹s Josh Smith and Darnell Taylor were selected as the 2012
Orange Empire Conference Players of the Year after leading the Gauchos to
the conference title. Smith, a freshman out of Lincoln High School in San
Diego, CA, averaged 10.5 points a game and 7.5 rebounds, fifth best in the
conference. Meanwhile, Taylor, a freshman out of Crenshaw High School in Los
Angeles, CA averaged 14 points a game. Gaucho head coach Andy Ground was
selected as the conference coach of the year after guiding Saddleback to a
10-2 conference record and the conference title.

First Team
Andre Winn, Cypress; Mason Biddle, Riverside; Kalob Hatcher, Irvine Valley; AJ Brevard, Saddleback; Will Logan, Orange Coast; Ramona Mejia, Irvine Valley;  Corey Walker, Riverside; Chris Nelson, Fullerton; Alex Worthen-Harris; Greg Bewernick, Fullerton.

Honorable Mention
Montel Taylor, Cypress; Ashton Coleman, Santa Ana; Konnu Shofu, Fullerton; Soloman Singer, Riverside; Michael Bolden, Irvine Valley; Miles Green, Fullerton.

Players of the Year
Josh Smith, Saddleback; Darnell Taylor, Saddleback

Coach of the YearAndy Ground, Saddleback

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cyp City Wins OEC Crown

Cypress College imposed its will on Orange Coast with a 30-point blowout 
Sam Soria
Costa Mesa, Calif. - The Chargers knew going into Friday's season finale road matchup against Orange Coast College (7-12, 3-9), that they needed a win to guarantee a share of this year's women's basketball Orange Empire Conference championship. With a loss, the Chargers (20-8, 10-2) might be out of the playoff picture all together.

The Chargers took control right from the start, and left nothing to chance on Friday night by pulling off their most dominating victory - in their biggest game of the year - with a 58-28 rout of the Pirates at Peterson Gym in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Freshmen Sama Soria (14 points, 4 rebounds) and Sloan Turner (12 points, 7 rebounds) helped lead Cypress to its fourth Orange Empire Conference crown in school history, and third under head coach Margaret Mohr.

After winning their first women's basketball league championship in 1988, the Chargers went through an 18-year title drought, before capturing a second conference crown in 2006 - the season following Cypress College's first CCCAA state championship in women's basketball. Three year's later, Mohr's Chargers were at it again with an OEC championship in 2009. Right on schedule in 2012, Cypress finished atop the league standings once again after another three-year hietis from the OEC title chase.

The Chargers came ready to play at both ends of the court on Friday, in a wire-to-wire victory that began with Chelsea Walton scoring the first five points of the game. Walton knocked down a three to open the scoring, then connected on a pair of free throws to put Cypress up 5-0. Tera Salhus chipped in with a bucket to make it a 7-0 contest before Coast found its first basket of the night.

OCC made it 9-4 with 13:14 left to play in the first half, but couldn't score again on Cypress' suffocating press for more than eight minutes after that, as the Charger defense clamped down on the Pirates with a 10-1 run that made it a 19-5 game. With time running down, Turner hit a buzzer-beating jumper to close out an 11-5 Cypress run, and send the Chargers into halftime with a commanding 30-10 lead over Coast.

Coming out of the break, the two squads traded baskets for much of the second half. Sophomore captain Donna Ka' anoi hit a layup with 15 minutes on the clock to put the Chargers up by 21 points. Ten minutes later, Walton found Breanna Patton cutting to the basket for a layup that stretched Cypress' lead to 51-26. With less than a minute on the clock, Doreen Lopez hit a couple of free throws to close out the scoring for Cypress College, and secure a decisive 30-point victory over Orange Coast to gear up for another run to the Final Four.

Cypress College's sister school, Fullerton College, made it an All North Orange County OEC Championship after beating Irvine Valley 68-40 at home on Friday. The Chargers and Hornets will share 2012 Orange Empire Conference Co-Championship honors after each finished the regular season tied with identical 10-2 records in league play.

When the CCCAA playoff matchups are announced on Monday afternoon, Cypress College will earn the higher seed over Fullerton College, after sweeping the Hornets in two regular season meetings this year.

The Chargers playoff bracket and first round matchup will be posted on the Cypress College women's basketball homepage: on Monday afternoon, and will be posted on Facebook:  ... and Twitter: first.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chargers Lose Second Straight to Lasers

Cypress College's only two conference losses this season have been to Irvine Valley.

Chelsea Walton
Irvine, Calif. - For the second straight game, Cypress College couldn't stop Irvine Valley when it needed to and paid the price with another Orange Empire Conference defeat at the hands of the Lasers. IVC had five players score eight points or more in the 69-58 OEC victory.

In the first meeting of the year between these two squads all the way back on November 13, in the Chargers third game of the season, Cypress blew out IVC 72-46 at the Pasadena Tournament in a non-league game. In the next two, the Lasers are 2-0 with a 66-60 victory at Cypress in the first round of OEC play, and the 11-point win this time around.

Sophomore Melissa Jensen finished with game-highs in points (18) and rebounds (8). Chelsea Walton added 15 points, six assists and four rebounds. Sloan Turner tied Jensen for the game-high in rebounding (8), and game-leading three blocks.

Despite shooting 40 percent from the floor in the second half, Cypress wasn't able to get stops against the Lasers after the break. After going into the locker room tied at 24-24, IVC came out on a mission to hit 15 of 27 shots from the floor - and 13 of 15 from the free throw line.

The loss puts Cypress in a must-win situation against Orange Coast College on the road Friday. Irvine Valley has to play at Fullerton in their season finale to earn a share of the OEC crown. If Fullerton completes the season sweep of IVC at home, the Hornets will share the title with Cypress as long as the Chargers get it done at Coast.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Chargers Rout Dons at Home

Fourteen Chargers score in 75-54 win over Santa Ana.

Denshay Wallace
Cypress, Calif. - Cypress College completed a season sweep over Santa College with a runaway 75-54 victory at home.

The Charger (19-8, 9-1) press was too much for the Dons (6-19, 1-9) to handle on offense, while Cypress' balanced scoring attack had SAC guessing all night long.

Cypress College took control of the game right from the start and never took its foot off the gas. By halftime, the Chargers were comfortably ahead 41-38. After the break, Santa Ana wasn't able to fair much better, as Cypress continued to add to its lead. The Chargers got scoring help from 14 of 16 players in the 21-point blowout.

A big part of the win had a lot to do with Cypress' relentless defensive pressure on the ball, which forced the Dons into 18 turnovers for the game. Sophomore Donna Ka' anoi had a game-high four steals for the Chargers, while three others tied for second on the team in steals with three apiece.

Denshay Wallace paced Cypress College's scoring attack with 12 points, that included two from downtown. Samantha Soria chipped in nine points, while Nikki Perkins and Ivory Hallstein each finished with eight points apiece. Wallace had a good day on the glass as well, finishing one rebound behind Sloan Turner who had a team-high eight boards.

Santa Ana's Anna Nguyen led all scorers with a game-high 20 points on 6 of 13 shooting. Nguyen shot 50 percent from beyond the arc after knocking down 4 of 8 shot attempts. Janelle Flores added 13 points for the Dons, but none of the five other scorers for SAC got over eight points in the game.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chargers Sweep Season Series with Fullerton College

Cypress gained sole possession of first place with a decisive road victory over the Hornets.
Sloan Turner
Fullerton, Calif. - After handing Fullerton College its first regular season Orange Empire Conference loss in more than two years in the first meeting between the two squads back on January 11, Cypress College did it again on the road Friday with a 54-52 win that gave the Chargers sole possession of first place atop the OEC standings.

That victory made it three straight wins over the Hornets for Cypress College head coach Margaret Mohr's Chargers dating back to last seasons victory at Fullerton in the playoffs.

Sloan Turner pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds, and Melissa Jensen scored a game-high 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the floor to help lead Cypress to one of its most important victories of the season. Turner also had a game-high four blocks. Samantha Soria and Chelsea Walton added seven points apiece. Doreen Lopez finished with six poits, and Donna Da'anoi chipped in five points and had a pair of steals.

After leading 29-21 heading into halftime, Cypress held off a second-half surge by the Hornets to hold on for the 54-52 victory. A big part of that was because of the Charger press that held Fullerton to 31.3 percent shooting by only allowing the Hornets to hit 20 of 64 shot attempts from the floor.

Cypress will take advantage of its bye this upcoming Wednesday to regroup for a late season playoff push, and a chance at reaching the CCCAA State Championship Final Four Tournament for a second straight season.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cypress Pounds Gauchos at Home

Jensen pours in 23 points to lead the Chargers to a 62-42 victory over Saddleback College.

Melissa Jensen
Cypress, Calif. - Melissa Jensen scored a game-high 23 points in the Chargers 62-46 victory over Saddleback College at home on Wednesday.

Cypress College (17-8, 7-1) completed the season sweep of the Gauchos (19-5, 5-3) with a dominating defensive effort that held Saddleback College to its second lowest point total of the season. The Gauchos scored a season-low 42 points at home in the Chargers first victory over them on February 1.

Tera Salhus and Ivory Hallstein each chipped in eight points and collected four rebounds. Sloan Turner ripped down a team-high 10 rebounds for the Chargers. Jensen was second in rebounding with seven boards, while leading the team in steals with three.

As a team, Cypress continued its solid shooting from the free throw line by hitting 19 of 25 shots for 76 percent average.

The Chargers will face off against Fullerton College in a battle for first place on the road Friday.