Regional Playoffs: Women’s Basketball Squares Off Against Cypress

The Rio Hondo Roadrunners women's basketball team features in its first playoff game Friday at Rio Hondo following a 5-3 South Coast Conference North record. From Rio Athletics website.

The Rio Hondo Roadrunners women's basketball team features in its first playoff game Friday at Rio Hondo following a 5-3 South Coast Conference North record. From Rio Athletics website.

Sunday, Feb. 23, the California Community College Athletic Association announced the women’s basketball regional playoffs bracket. Friday, Feb. 28, Rio Hondo College will host the Cypress Chargers in the second round after the Roadrunners were selected as the no. 8 seed in the tournament — paired with the no. 9 Chargers.

“Cypress is a well coached team,” Roadrunners head coach Rene Herrera said. “Should be a competitive game.”

Great Month of February

Going into tonight’s game, Rio Hondo sits at a respectable 20-8 record overall and a 5-3 tally during South Coast Conference North play. Only the no. 2 seeded Mt. San Antonio Mounties had more wins in the SCCN.

In the month of February, Herrera’s squad lost one (on the road at Los Angeles Trade Tech) of its five games. After losing its first two in conference back in January, matchups against the Mounties and Pasadena City College (the only other team to beat Rio during conference) went the Roadrunners’ way. It’s an attribute the Roadrunners haven’t had in the squad for a while, the ability to go back to the drawing board and compete with the best teams in the SCCN.

Thursday, Herrera harped on the importance of defense. Saying it’s “the name of the game” and the key to his team’s success this season. They’ll also need it Friday.

Point guard Amy Lee is second in SCCN in steals per game (SPG) with 3.5. Forward Amy Navarro’s 1.2 blocks per game puts her at fourth in the conference. Navarro’s contribution at the rim with 6.8 defensive rebounds per game (second in SCCN) also adds to the team’s success.

“We have to play defense and handle [Cypress’s] pressure in order to give ourselves a chance to compete.” Herrera said.

Second-Team All State Charger

Navarro, Lee and the rest will have their hands full tonight.

Cypress Freshman guard/forward Jessica Barrow has been putting up big numbers. Her 18.2 points per game (2nd) along with 33.7% shooting from three-point range (3rd) are enough to be in the top three in the Orange Empire Conference (OEC). Also a notable force for Cypress is Sophomore point guard Pressila Blanco. Her 15.5 PPG and 2.7 SPG earned her First-Team all OEC along with Barrow who also received Second-Team All State honors.

Friday will be Rio’s second time featuring in a playoff game under third-year coach Herrera. A 60-49 loss to Ventura College made it a quick exit for the Roadrunners who have a chance to win its first playoff game under Herrera Friday.

Tip-off tonight is set for 7 p.m. from Rio Hondo College. The winner will have a week of rest before round three’s matchup Saturday, March 7 against either no. 1 Moorpark or no. 16 Riverside City College. A chance to feature in this year’s CCCAA’s State Championships March 12-15 at West Hills Lemore will be on the line.

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