CYPRESS (11-29-2018) / (Updated 12-01-2018) – The Palomar women's basketball team began play in the 35th Annual Lady Charger Classic at Cypress College's Don Johnson Court on Friday by blowing past Compton 96-27 in a first-round game in which the Comets put all 13 players in the scoring column.
But the Comets (8-2) failed to advance to Sunday's tournament championship game when they were upset by El Camino College 72-70 in Saturday's semifinals after leading 30-16 at the conclusion of the first quarter. Palomar will play East Los Angeles (9-2), which was upset 77-72 by Cypress in the other semifinal, for third place in Sunday's 1 p.m. game.
East L.A. snapped Palomar's 33-game home winning streak in the championship game of the Comet Classic two weeks ago, and it was widely expected the Comets and Huskies would reach a rematch in the Lady Charger Classic finals.
Friday's 1st-Round Game: Palomar 96, Compton 27
Coach Leigh Marshall's squad won big as the Comets raced past the Tartars 21-14 in the first quarter, 28-7 in the second quarter, 22-7 in the third quarter and 25-3 in the fourth quarter.
Palomar was led by double-figure scoring from: Erica Wetzell (San Marcos High School, 13 points on 4-for-5 shooting from the field and a 5-for-6 performance from the free-throw stripe, 11 rebounds, an assist and a blocked shot); Julie Saelee (12 points, 4 rebounds and an assist); and Makenna Gentry (Mt. Carmel High, 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals).
Other major contributors for Palomar included Nalei'a (Carlsbad High, 9 points, 4 assists and a rebound, a steal and a block); Lilly Crabtree (Westview High, 6 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals); and Imari Cooley (Vista Murrieta High, 7 points, 6 rebounds including 4 on the offensive board and an assist).
Morgan Heise (San Marcos High) and Sara Ahmadpour (Mission Hills High) each contributed 9 points. Taylor Williams (Mira Mesa High) chipped in with 6 steals and 3 assists. Dominique Liebentritt (Carlsbad High) and Keira Barton (Vista Murrieta High) each pulled down 6 rebounds. Lauren Hecker passed off for 4 assists.
Saturday's Semifinal Game: El Camino 72, Palomar 70
The Comets, trailing 71-70 in the closing seconds after a 3-point basket by Ahmadpour and in possession of the ball with an opportunity to win the game, gave the ball back on a turnover with 12 seconds remaining in the game.
Gentry (17 points including a 5-for-12 night from behind the 3-point arc, 4 rebounds and an assist), led three Comets in double figures. The two others were Ahmadpour (12 points on 4-for-6 shooting from behind the arc, 4 rebounds, 2 assists) and Crabtree, Clarissa Tate (10 points). Crabree (11 rebounds, 6 on the offensive board, and 4 steals) and Williams (8 points) were Palomar's other main contributors.
"They outplayed us, and they 'out-toughed' us," Marshall said.
The championship game will be played on Sunday at 3 p.m. between Cypress and El Camino., which snapped the Comets' 33-game home win streak in the championship game of the Comet Classic, and El Camino.