CYPRESS (11-30-2018) / (UPDATED 12-03-2018) – Imari Cooley hit a jump shot with eight seconds remaining in the game, then blocked a shot with three seconds to play on Sunday as the Palomar women's basketball team won its much-anticipated rematch with East Los Angeles 74-73 in the 35th Annual Lady Charger Classic at Cypress College's Don Johnson Court.
In a stunning turn of events, the victory came in the tournament's third-place game after coach Leigh Marshall's Comets (now 9-2) and the Huskies (now 9-3), rivals that were considered all but a lock to meet in the championship game later Sunday, both were upset in Saturday's semifinals (see previous article), by El Camino and Cypress, respectively.
East L.A. had snapped Palomar's 33-game home winning streak the week before Thanksgiving in winning the Comet Classic.
Cooley (Vista Murrieta High School) finished the afternoon with 11 points (5-for-7 on 3-pointers), a rebound, 3 steals and the all-important block.
Sara Ahmadpour (Mission Hills High, 17 points including 5-for-14 shooting behind the 3-point arc, 3 rebounds and an assist) led four Comets in double figures in the victory over the Huskies.
The other Palomar players who scored in double figures were Julie Saelee (Monterey Trails High in Elk Grove, just outside Sacramento, 14 points, 3 rebounds, an assist and a steal), Cooley, and Clarissa Taite (Mira Mesa High, 10 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal).
Other big contributors vs. East L.A. were Morgan Heise (San Marcos High, 9 points, 3-for-7 on 3's, 2 rebounds and an assist) and Lilly Crabtree (Westview High, 7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals).
El Camino won the tournament with a 62-60 victory over Cypress.
Meanwhile, Palomar is ranked No. 7 in the state (and tied with East L.A. for third in Southern California) by the California Womens's Baketball Coaches Association.
Rankings in the other major state poll, conducted by the California Comunity College Sports Information Association, will be released beginning in January.
CCCWBCA STATE POLL AS OF DEC. 3
1 Moorpark (10-0)
2 Diablo Valley (12-0)
3 College of the Sequoias (8-2)
4 Los Angeles Trade Tech (6-1)
5 East Los Angeles (9-3)
6 Merced (7-2)
7 Palomar (9-2)
8 Pasadena City College (8-1)
9 Mt. San Jacinto (7-2)
10 City College of San Francisco (4-1)
Palomar will return to action this upcoming Saturday at 7 p.m. with a non-conference game in The Dome against state No. 15-ranked and Southern California No. 9-ranked Mt. SAC