Injuries derail Moorpark Raiders’ plans for a state championship



Moorpark College’s Barbara Rangel is consoled by her father, Juan Rangel after leaving the game with a knee injury that occurred in the third quarter of the CCCAA state championship game against Diablo Valley College, played at Ventura College on Sunday, March 17, 2019. Moorpark lost to Diablo Valley, 68-61. Photo credit: Jace Kessler

By Robert Gonzales

After a fast start and early 26-10-point lead on Sunday night over Diablo Valley, the Moorpark College women’s basketball team seemed destined to be crowned state champions.

By the third quarter, the team would lose one of their biggest contributors in sophomore center Barbara Rangel, when she fell to the Ventura College hardwood, grabbing at her braced knee.

Without Rangel’s presence, Moorpark’s once large lead became nonexistent. SoCal’s No. 1-ranked Moorpark Raiders would lose to NorCal’s No. 1-ranked Diablo Valley Vikings 68-61 in what should have been a matchup for the ages but ended up being hobbled by injury.

Sophomore center Barbara Rangel grasps her knee after an injury during Moorpark's championship game against Diablo Valley College on Sunday, March 17 at Ventura College. Rangel has been consistently battling with pain around her kneecap. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

“We battled some adversity all season,” Moorpark Coach Kenny Plummer said. “But when it came down to this game, we just couldn’t come over the adversity of losing Barbara.”

Out of the 700 in attendance, Moorpark’s crowd was demoralized, but the Raiders still played hard in Rangel’s absence.

Freshman guard Breanna Calhoun led the charge with 23 points, followed by 15 points from freshman guard Jazmin Carrasco and 12 points from sophomore guard Emily Herring. The three Moorpark scorers were not enough to overcome Diablo Valley, a team that had four players score double-digit points.

The Diablo Valley Vikings began to turn the ship around in the second quarter, hitting six of eight 3-pointers. Diablo Valley guard Jasmine Kong hit from beyond the arc three times in a row followed by two in a row from sophomore guard Jahnay Anderson. The two players had 15 points in 3.5 minutes and cut Moorpark’s 16-point lead to a four-point lead by halftime.

Sophomore Barbara Rangel attempts to block a three-pointer from Jasmine Kong, a freshman from Diablo Valley College, during the Raiders' championship final against the Vikings on Sunday, March 17 at Ventura College. The Vikings drained 15 of their attempted 31 three-pointers, giving themselves the lead over the Raiders. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

In the third quarter, the 3-point shooting continued, especially with Anderson. She added three more successful 3-pointers, bringing her total to five.

Moorpark’s offense was still moving through Calhoun, but the Vikings kept creeping closer and closer with the 3-ball.

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Freshman Breanna Calhoun dribbles up court against Diablo Valley College during the CCCAA state championship at Ventura College on Sunday, March 17, 2019. Moorpark lost to Diablo Valley, 68-61. Photo Credit: Jace Kessler

It was the only offense Diablo Valley ran and it deflated all of Moorpark’s successful offensive efforts.

“They hit some contested 3s, we switched defenses and they still, to their credit, knocked down some 3s,” Plummer said. “Even before Barbara went out, they kind of made a run a little bit there, but we spoke about that. We were ready to make our push in the fourth quarter like we always do, but we didn’t expect to make that push without Barbara.”

With the game tied at 45, the unthinkable happened, Rangel went down.

“I just think the biggest thing was having a lead but fail,” Calhoun said in tears after the game. “Of course, Barbara was the moment, the moment changed. She’s a big part of our offense and defense, we tried to adjust, but just obviously couldn’t.”

When Rangel left the game, with almost four minutes remaining in the third quarter, Diablo Valley took advantage and took their first lead of the game since the initial 37 seconds when they led 5-3.

The Vikings pushed their lead out to 51-48 and Rangel reentered the ball game with 1.5 minutes remaining in the third quarter, determined to change the course of the game once again.

The ball went straight to Rangel on the Raiders’ next offensive possession. She put the ball up twice under the rim without any success and began limping to the sideline.

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Sophomore Barbara Rangel is escorted by trainer Cherisse Meichtry, distraught after having to the leave the CCCAA state championship game with a knee injury in the third quarter. Rangel would not return. Moorpark lost to Diablo Valley, 68-61, at Ventura College, on Sunday, March 17, 2019. Photo Credit: Jace Kessler

“At first, I thought she was going to be able to come back in, she just needed a second. But that second time she got out, it was like an ‘oh crap’ moment,” Herring said.

The Vikings laid in even more after that. They jumped out to a 63-51 lead, but before the night was over, the Raiders would make one more push back into the ball game.

They showed their heart, two big blocks by sophomore guard Mia Moore and a three by Calhoun and the crowd was no longer deflated. The building reanimated with life.

“When we were started coming back, the crowd was getting more riled up. We were starting to feel the energy and just get like a boost in a way,” Carrasco said.

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Freshman Jazmin Carrasco sights in a jump shot while playing against Diablo Valley College in the CCCAA state championship game at Ventura College on Sunday, March 17, 2019. Moorpark lost to Diablo Valley, 68-61. Photo Credit: Jace Kessler

The Raiders slimmed the lead to four with two minutes remaining. Even with the disadvantage of losing Rangel down low, they rallied around their team defense.

The Raiders stole the ball from the Vikings four more times to keep the Vikings’ score at bay. With 53 seconds remaining, the Raiders were within two points.

But the 10-0 run would come to an end when Diablo Valley’s Sierra Smith chased after her own assist and was there, ready for the put-back, after a Leilani Moncrease miss.

Sophomore Barbara Rangel, left, comforts freshman teammate Breanna Calhoun after the team's championship final loss against Diablo Valley College on Sunday, March 17 at Ventura College. The Raiders fell to the Vikings, 68-61. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

With 24.2 seconds to go the Vikings held a four-point lead. The Raiders then lost the ball on a back door and could not recover after that. With 1.6 seconds remaining Diablo Valley could celebrate, knowing they had won.

“[My team] made a run, [the Vikings] sustained it, we did all we could,” Rangel said. “It was in reach, they just had a better night tonight, which is ok. But I’m so proud of [my team], they did so incredible, especially me being out and them playing as well as they did, I couldn’t have asked for a better team.”

Outstanding Statistics

Diablo Valley:

3 Daisha Abdelkader: 6 rebounds, 9 assists

11 Leilani Moncrease: 13 rebounds

21 Zahria Hendrix: 12 rebounds, 3pt FGs: 4-6, 12 points

22 Sierra Smith: 11 points

30 Jahnay Anderson: 3pt FGs: 7-12, 21 points


10 Emily Herring: 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 12 points on 5-7 FGA

21 Jazmin Carrasco: 7 rebounds, 4 turnovers, 3pt FGs: 4-10, 15 points

22 Breanna Calhoun: 4 steals, 7 turnovers, 23 points on 8-17 FGA

42 Barbara Rangel: 8 rebounds, 8 points in two quarters and six minutes.

33 Kristen Sullivan: 5 rebounds

15 Mia Moore: 2 blocks