Women’s Basketball returns to state tournament following a dominant win over Cypress Chargers

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Caleigh McClenahan jumps up for a layup during Moorpark's home game against Cypress College on Saturday, March, 7. Photo credit: Bruce Arikawa

By Nick Sweis

The Moorpark Raiders (27-1, 8-0) took turns climbing the ladder up to the basketball net after a dominant victory over the Cypress Chargers (21-7, 9-3) 70-39 as the coaches and players each clipped off a piece of the net to celebrate Moorpark’s return to the state tournament.

The Raiders were led by their star guard duo of Bree Calhoun and Jazzy Carrasco. Calhoun stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five steals. While Carrasco finished the game off with 17 points and five steals. The Raiders took control of the game by the end of the first quarter leading 19-7 and never looked back.

Jazzy Carrasco turns the jets on as she blows by her defender during Moorpark's home game against Cypress College on Saturday March 7.
Jazzy Carrasco turns the jets on as she blows by her defender during Moorpark's home game against Cypress College on Saturday March 7. Photo credit: Bruce Arikawa

Returning sophomores Carrasco and Calhoun enjoyed the moment as they once again held the opportunity to play for a spot in the state championship after their 2019 run ended in a championship loss. Calhoun was asked how it felt to return to the tournament once again.

“Man it’s a great feeling. I just love that I can do it with a whole new team and that we all have the same goals and that we can all accomplish what we wanted too which was being undefeated at home and it’s honestly the best feeling and I appreciate the team and coaches,” Calhoun said.

Guard Jessica Barrow led Cypress with 10 points and five rebounds but the Chargers were unable to get anything going against the Raiders suffocating defense.

The domination continued for Moorpark as they have opened up the playoffs with two controlling victories over Riverside and Cypress, winning both games by 31 points.

Carrasco commented on the team’s ability to dominant on the court.

“Just staying focused and preparing for each game as we go. It starts with our coaching staff as they are so into detail and are always prepared. I guarantee you after this game they are already preparing for whoever we play next week,” Carrasco said.

This is the second straight season that Moorpark has a chance to play in the state tournament. It is difficult to stay on top for two straight seasons, but the Raiders are playing even better and more motivated than before.

Head Coach Kenny Plummer spoke post-game about what it meant to him that his team is going back to the tournament.

“It feels great to be back at the state championship and having the opportunity at another chance at a state title. We have worked hard all year long to get ourselves in this position,” Plummer said. “I am very proud of our entire team and staff in reaching this point. The state championship is a great experience to be a part of and getting a chance to compete against the top remaining teams in the state.”

The journey is only going to get harder from here as the Raiders will face their toughest opponents in the state tournament starting with the quarterfinals, semifinals, then the final state championship game. Plummer was asked how the team plans to leave the tournament as state champions.

“In order for us to come back as champions we will need to do the things that got us here, most importantly is on the defensive end. Our team’s identity has been made on the defensive end,” Plummer said. “Consistency on being smart, tough, and disciplined and trusting and enjoying playing with one another on the offensive end has also made this a special group.”

As Plummer said, consistency is a key factor that has led to Moorpark’s dominant season. Carrasco commented post-game on what they will have to do to continue their success and consistency. “Attention to detail, playing hard in practice, staying together, and having high energy,” Carrasco stated.

The Moorpark Raiders will play in the 2020 CCCAA State Championships Quarterfinals March 12 at 5 p.m. against Sierra College (22-7, 10-4). Sierra College may contain a challenge for the Raiders as Carrasco and Calhoun face Sierra’s own star guard duo of Jenna Duley, averaging 15.1 PPG and Kailee McCarrick who averages 22.2.

Editor’s note: Due to recent COVID-19 concerns, the California Community College Basketball playoffs have been made an “essential personnel only” event. This decision was reached in regards to both student and spectator safety. Fans can still watch games live on the CCCAA’s webpage, along with live updates, photos and recaps.