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Women’s basketball refuses to give into hunted mentality as they fight for their first playoff win in SoCal regionals

Head+Coach+Kenny+Plummer+discusses+the+game+plan+with+his+team+just+prior+to+the+start+of+the+second+half+of+the+2nd+round+of+the+CCCAA+Southern+California+Regional+playoffs%2C+held+at+Moorpark+College+on+Saturday%2C+March+2.++Moorpark+defeated+Cerritos%2C+86+to+56.+Photo+credit%3A+Jace+Kessler
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Women’s basketball refuses to give into hunted mentality as they fight for their first playoff win in SoCal regionals

Head Coach Kenny Plummer discusses the game plan with his team just prior to the start of the second half of the 2nd round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional playoffs, held at Moorpark College on Saturday, March 2.  Moorpark defeated Cerritos, 86 to 56. Photo credit: Jace Kessler

Head Coach Kenny Plummer discusses the game plan with his team just prior to the start of the second half of the 2nd round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional playoffs, held at Moorpark College on Saturday, March 2. Moorpark defeated Cerritos, 86 to 56. Photo credit: Jace Kessler

Head Coach Kenny Plummer discusses the game plan with his team just prior to the start of the second half of the 2nd round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional playoffs, held at Moorpark College on Saturday, March 2. Moorpark defeated Cerritos, 86 to 56. Photo credit: Jace Kessler

Head Coach Kenny Plummer discusses the game plan with his team just prior to the start of the second half of the 2nd round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional playoffs, held at Moorpark College on Saturday, March 2. Moorpark defeated Cerritos, 86 to 56. Photo credit: Jace Kessler

By Robert Gonzales

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Questions surrounded sophomore center Barbara Rangel as she walked into Raider Pavilion playing with a knee brace for her first game of the 2019 regional playoffs.

“I was practicing a little scared because I didn’t want to make it any worse,” Rangel said.

The Cerritos Falcons may have seen an opportunity to take down the hobbled No. 1 seed, but as the game began the Raider’s mentality began to show.

Moorpark began the game with intensity, taking a 16-3 lead against the Falcons. Rangel showed no signs of slowing down, mounting a double-double by half time.

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Sophomore center Barbara Rangel drives in the paint against Cerritos's Serena Rendon during the 2nd round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional playoffs, held at Moorpark College on Saturday, March 2. Moorpark defeated Cerritos, 86 to 56. Photo credit: Jace Kessler

The attack never let up as Moorpark seized the victory from Cerritos 86-56.

“People who are the No. 1 seed are usually like ‘we’re being hunted,’” Head Coach Kenny Plummer said. “We don’t take that mentality, we are the hunters, we act like everyone we’re playing is the No. 1 seed, and I think with that mentality, that approach, [that’s] what got us where we are right now.”

On this championship run, the Moorpark Raiders have won 13 games in a row by an outrageous average of 42 points.

For the first time in 28 years, they achieved their conference title and after this week’s victory against Cerritos, they advanced to the third round of regional playoffs for the second time in two years.

Instinct took over as they hunted another foe on their home court.

“With the adrenaline, it’s in [our] nature for us to keep going hard,” sophomore guard Emily Herring said.

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Sophomore Emily Herring takes a jump shot against Cerritos College during the 2nd round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional playoffs, held at Moorpark College on Saturday, March 2. Moorpark defeated Cerritos, 86 to 56. Photo credit: Jace Kessler

Rangel may have played with a knee brace, but Herring tossed her body in play after play to ensure her team’s victory.

She dove after loose balls, she held her ground against incoming charges, and drove the lane through contact to get to the basket. In the third quarter alone, she drew three fouls in two minutes knocking down three of her five free throws.

“Emily is just so tough,” Rangel said. “She’s literally the toughest player I’ve ever played with and she’s so ruthless, RELENTLESS!”

Herring was one of three top scorers in the game for Moorpark. Rangel, Herring, and freshman guard Jazmin Carrasco showed no mercy, bombarding Cerritos with 56 points, enough to match the total of the entire Cerritos team.

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Freshman Jazmin Carrasco looks for a lane against Cerritos's defense during the 2nd round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional playoffs, held at Moorpark College on Saturday, March 2. Moorpark defeated Cerritos, 86 to 56. Photo credit: Jace Kessler

Freshman point guard Breanna Calhoun piled on her own 14-point, 12-assist, double-double. It was Calhoun’s eighth double-double of the season.

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Freshman Breanna Calhoun out-maneuvers Cerritos's Sarah Hernandez as Calhoun jumps for a layup during the 2nd round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional playoffs, held at Moorpark College on Saturday, March 2. Moorpark defeated Cerritos, 86 to 56. Photo credit: Jace Kessler

“Everybody kind of feeds off that,” Herring said, “I think with Barbara and Breanna’s passing especially, it makes it really easy and natural to get points.”

Moorpark (29-1) needs to continue their ruthless, relentless hunting in the regional playoffs to defeat third-round opponent No. 9 Glendale Vaqueros (22-5).

They have crossed paths before, early in the season at the first tournament final in Riverside. Moorpark defeated Glendale 73-54 to spark their first tournament win of the season.

“We know [Glendale]s gotten better,” Coach Plummer said. “But we believe we’re way better than we were at that time last year too, so we’re ready for the challenge.”

The improved team won numerous accolades at the end of the year to back up their coach’s words.

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The Women's Raiders Basketball team poses post-game for photo in celebration of their win over Cerritos College in the 2nd round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional playoffs, held at Moorpark College on Saturday, March 2. Moorpark defeated Cerritos, 86 to 56. Photo credit: Jace Kessler

Plummer won Western State Conference North Coach of the Year for his third straight season, Calhoun won SoCal State Player of the Year, Rangel won a spot on the All-State first team, Carrasco won a spot on the All-State third team, and Herring won a spot on the All-Conference first team.

“It makes you want to do better because you’re being recognized for what you’re doing,” Calhoun said. “But that’s always been the goal, to get the team involved and everybody to play and go as far as we can. State’s always the top of the mountain so that’s what we’re trying to get to.”

With a second win this season against Glendale, the Raiders can punch their ticket to state playoffs which begin March 15 at Ventura College.

“I think the ceiling is unexplainable; I don’t think there is a ceiling for this team,” Calhoun said.

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About the Writer
Robert Gonzales, Senior reporter
Robert Gonzales is a senior sports reporter. He received his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, but was mesmerized investigating the journeys behind the athletes he was studying. This led him to pursue an associate's degree in journalism from Moorpark College. While he loves all sports, his favorite two pastimes are football and basketball. One day he hopes to debate sports topics on national television just like the shows that inspired him to pursue a career in sports journalism.

@ReportsRobert
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