Ventura County sends two women’s basketball teams to the state championship tournament

Freshman+Breanna+Calhoun+speeds+downcourt+during+Moorpark+College%27s+game+against+Ventura+College+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+22%2C+in+the+Ventura+College+gym.+Calhoun+concluded+the+game+with+23+points+and+8+assists%2C+helping+her+team+claim+the+win.+Photo+credit%3A+Evan+Reinhardt
Back to Article
Back to Article

Ventura County sends two women’s basketball teams to the state championship tournament

Freshman Breanna Calhoun speeds downcourt during Moorpark College's game against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Ventura College gym. Calhoun concluded the game with 23 points and 8 assists, helping her team claim the win. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Freshman Breanna Calhoun speeds downcourt during Moorpark College's game against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Ventura College gym. Calhoun concluded the game with 23 points and 8 assists, helping her team claim the win. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Freshman Breanna Calhoun speeds downcourt during Moorpark College's game against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Ventura College gym. Calhoun concluded the game with 23 points and 8 assists, helping her team claim the win. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Freshman Breanna Calhoun speeds downcourt during Moorpark College's game against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Ventura College gym. Calhoun concluded the game with 23 points and 8 assists, helping her team claim the win. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Robert Gonzales and Tessa Sever

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The last time Ventura County sent two women’s basketball programs to the state’s elite eight championship tournament was 1997 when Ventura College won it all. Fast forward 22 years later, the county’s basketball programs are thriving once again, with Moorpark looking to add their name to the list of state champions.

In 1997, the competition between the county in the Western State Conference North was at an all-time high. Ventura claimed conference champions with a 35-1 overall record and Moorpark sat third in the conference with a 20-win season, but both found a way to advance to the state’s elite eight.

In 2019, the competition within the county is heating up again. Moorpark reigns as the overall No. 1 seed holding a 30-1 record while Ventura advances as the state’s No. 4 south seed with a 25-9 record.

WBB_Reinhardt.jpg

Emma Larson shoots a jumper for Ventura College during their game against Irvine Valley College on Saturday, March 9, at Ventura College. Ventura College won 73-53. Photo credit: Tessa Sever

“It’s amazing that two teams from our conference are going,” Ventura’s 2019 scoring leader, Cece Quintino, said. “That just shows you how tough and strong our conference was this year and I want both of us to make it to the end.”

Ventura College is historically known as the more successful basketball program. Their women’s program has won seven titles. This year they are still strong, as the South’s No. 4 seed, but Moorpark finally looks ready to add their name to the list of state champions.

GirlsBasketball_Evan_24.jpg

Head Coach Kenny Plummer congratulates his women's basketball team after winning their regular season final on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Ventura College locker room. Plummer emphasized the importance of more practice leading into playoffs. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

“It shows you how good the girls in our area are as basketball players,” Moorpark Coach Kenny Plummer said. “It’s exciting for the county and it creates a great atmosphere to have both teams in the state finals.”

Ventura’s Coach Ned Mircetic also had congratulatory words for the so-called “cross-county rival.” Both coaches expressed joy from the success of the county, rather than fueling the countywide feud.

“I always tell everyone that Moorpark, Oxnard, Ventura [are the] best places to go coming out of high school,” Mircetic said. “It’s really nice to see both teams doing well … It’s nice for our local administration to have that sense that ‘yeah there’s room for two people to be good.’”

GirlsBasketball_Evan_6.jpg

Freshman Breanna Calhoun pushes through two defenders during Moorpark's season final against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Ventura College gym. Calhoun lead the team in scoring, helping Moorpark lock in the win. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Both teams were having success this year, but Moorpark is on a newfound historic run. The Raiders won the WSC North for the first time in 28 years, went undefeated in conference play for the first time in 31 years, and set their school record of 30-wins in a season, with three more games to play.

Compared to their 1997 predecessors, both teams are advancing to the state’s elite eight championships but this time the roles are reversed. Moorpark is the new conference leader, looking like the favorite to win the tournament. Compared to Ventura’s 1997 team, the new No. 1-ranked Moorpark may end with the same state champion results.

The 1997 Pirates once held the WSC’s third highest offensive average, putting up 87.8 points per game. In 2019, Moorpark averages 86 points per game and ranks sixth all-time in the WSC, only three spots behind the ’97 Ventura team. The olden Pirates had a formidable defense that held opponents to 52 points, the newer-age Raiders held their opponents to a comparable 53.6 points.

If the two were to meet up today, it would certainly be a battle of the ages.

GirlsBasketball_Evan_4.jpg

Freshman Breanna Calhoun launches a jump shot over multiple Ventura defenders during Moorpark College's game against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Ventura College gym. Moorpark earned the title of conference champions after defeating Ventura College 72-39. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Some players new to the rivalry could still appreciate the level of basketball skill needed to play in the competitive county.

“I’m new to Ventura County, I’m from Santa Clarita, so to be even a part of that is really humbling I guess,” Ventura’s guard Talia Taufaasau said. “To be a part of like a good countywide basketball.”

Quintino and Taufaasau were two major factors that contributed to the countywide competition, each player was named All-State and All-Conference for their first year on the Ventura College team.

Breanna Calhoun, Moorpark’s highlight-reel point guard and SoCal Player of the Year, expressed similar sentiments as the new-comer Taufaasau.

GirlsBasketball_Evan_9.jpg

Freshman Breanna Calhoun passes the ball to a teammate during Moorpark's season final against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Ventura College gym. Calhoun lead the team in scoring with 23 points. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

New to the conference, Calhoun topped all players in points, assists, and steals. She’s led her team to the No. 1 ranking and has been on a mission to win state since the beginning of the season.

“That’s pretty lit!” Calhoun said. “I mean I’m not from over here, but that’s lit. I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

Jazmin Carrasco, Moorpark’s All-State three-point threat, was originally from Ventura. She’s one of three girls on the current team that attended Ventura High School before coming over to Moorpark College. She was happy for the county but carried the rivalry a little more than the others.

GirlsBasketball_Evan_17.jpg

Jazzy Carrasco faces off with a defender in Moorpark's game against Ventura College on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Ventura College gym. Moorpark's win over Ventura finally gave them the title of conference champions after 29 years. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

“Shout out to Ventura County!” Carrasco said. “[But] I mean, I’m pro-Moorpark, I will always root for Moorpark, and um, that’s all I’m going to say about that,” she said with a chuckle, before saying anything more about the cross-county foe.

If the two teams ever played in the upcoming playoffs it would be for the state finale on March 17 at 3:30 p.m. But each team would need to win their next two playoff games to advance that far.

“It would be really cool to face them later on because I think, on a bigger stage that’s, you know, awesome,” Ventura’s Taufaasau said. “But either way to have two schools from out here going this far is pretty cool.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email