Former Empire stars Reed, Greco lead SRJC women to state tournament

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

For the second year in a row, the Santa Rosa JC women’s basketball team is going to the CCCAA State Tournament.

The Bear Cubs stamped their ticket Saturday night at Haehl Pavilion, defeating Sierra, 66-48, in the NorCal Regionals semifinals. The state title will be decided March 11-13 in Ventura.

San Francisco City College prevailed in the other NorCal bracket. Cypress and Mt. San Antonio will represent Southern California.

The news wasn’t as good for the Bear Cubs men’s team. They lost 82-66 Saturday night at San Francisco. Fresno is the other team advancing from Northern California.

Last year, the JC women lost 66-58 to Fullerton in the semifinal round at state.

Sierra kept pace with the JC women until late in the first half. The score was 20-20 three minutes before halftime. At that point, freshman Jenna Reed came off the bench and quickly made a difference.

The Windsor grad scored six points as Santa Rosa ended the half on a 9-2 run.

“Reed came up big for us,” coach Lacey Campbell said. “She came off the bench and gave us energy.”

Marie Sweet also had a big first half. The 6-foot sophomore had 13 of her 15 points before intermission. She came in averaging seven per game.

In the second half, Mia Greco took over. The Petaluma alum scored 18 in the half and converted 12 of 14 free throws.

The Bear Cubs continually attacked the basket and as a result shot 39 free throws, making 26.

Santa Rosa has beaten Sierra three times this season. The Wolverines defeated top seed Fresno City in the previous round.

“It’s always tough to beat a team three times in a season,” Campbell said. “We made some adjustments as the game went on and we turned out to be the more aggressive team.”

Santa Rosa outscored the Rocklin team, 35-24, in the second half.

“Our defense has been very good in the playoffs and it was solid in the second half,” Campbell said. “We talked at halftime about how much was on the line in the second half and the girls came up with something extra.

“I think we wore them down.”

Kristen Huffman led Sierra with 16, but Tori Carroll was held to six, five below her average.

Greco finished with 20 points — six above her average — and 10 rebounds. Jen Tsurumoto was held to three in the first half and wound up with eight, five below her average.

The JC men were done in by 6-4 guard Collin Chiverton, who scored 41.

“He killed us,” coach Craig McMillan said. “He hit nine 3-pointers. We just couldn’t cover him.”

The Bear Cubs trailed 36-28 at the half and got within five with 13 minutes to go. “San Francisco is an awfully good team. We just couldn’t get it done against them,” said McMillan.

Analy’s Kevin Aronis led Santa Rosa with 19 points and Lorenzo McCloud had 17. The Bear Cubs end the season 22-9. San Francisco plays on with a 30-1 record.