By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
WALNUT, Calif. — College of the Canyons was narrowly defeated in its season-opening contest at the Mt. San Antonio College Tip-Off Classic, but quickly responded to win its next two games and place fifth at the annual eight-team tourney.
Canyons (2-1) took a four-point lead into halftime vs. host Mt. SAC but was unable to hold that advantage down the stretch, eventually falling 62-54 on opening night.
COC sophomore Alexis Orellana led all scorers with 20 points and also collected five assists, two steals and two blocks. Cristian Patron started and played all 40 minutes, scoring nine points and pulling down five rebounds to go with four steals. Kaitlin Eells added eight points off the bench for Canyons.
On day two, the Cougars responded with a strong defensive effort to claim a 67-50 victory over Long Beach City College. COC limited LBCC (0-2) to just 11 first-half points to take a 36-11 lead into the locker room at half time.
Once again it was Orellana and Patron who led the offensive attack. Orellana scored 17 points to go with nine rebounds and seven assists, while Patron finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore Janeth Cruz also had a strong game with seven points and 10 rebounds. Once again it was Eells with seven points off the bench to lead the reserve unit.
Canyons continued its winning trend on Sunday with a 74-62 victory over conference rival West L.A. College. Last season COC and West L.A. (1-2) shared the 2018 Western State Conference (WSC), South Division championship.
The two programs played to a 28-28 halftime tie after Cruz buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to even up the score and give Canyons some momentum heading into the second half.
Sophomore Shauna Van Grinsven led all scorers with 20 points and pulled down 12 boards. Canyons had four players score in double digits with McKenzie Stoehr finishing with 14 points and Orellana and Patron added in 11 points apiece. Orellana also added 11 assists while Cruz had a game-high 15 rebounds.
With its back-to-back wins Canyons finished fifth in the tournament field, while Orellana was named to the All-Tournament team.
COC will return to action vs. Taft College on Friday, Nov. 23 at the annual Ventura-Kiwanis Tournament hosted by Ventura College. The action will continue through the weekend with a champion crowned Sunday, Nov. 25.
Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.