By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
College of the Canyons pulled out a 76-71 victory over Rio Hondo College on Friday, as the Lady Cougars took their home court for the first time this season in the opening round of the Crossover Challenge Tournament hosted by El Camino College.
The 16-team tourney, which included 12 of the region's top-15 ranked teams, began on Friday and will conclude on Jan. 12. The full tournament schedule, which features two eight-team brackets playing at various venues across the region, is included here.
Canyons (13-7) was slow to start as the Roadrunners (11-7) jumped all over the Lady Cougars on the way to a 21-12 first quarter lead.
COC shot just 3-of-17 in the opening period, but bounced back in the second period behind seven points from Alexis Orellana. As a team, Canyons improved to shoot 50 percent from the field and cut the Rio Hondo lead to six points at the half.
Freshman McKenzie Stoehr gave the Cougars a big boost with 10 points in the third quarter to help Canyons continue to get back into the game. Rio Hondo managed to hold onto a 55-51 lead after three quarters.
The back-and-forth battle continued on both ends of the floor with the Roadrunners refusing to go away.
RHC freshman Amanda Lee paced her squad with 23 points on a 10-of-23 shooting performance. The Roadrunners had four starters finish in double figures, but still ended up on the losing end of the final score.
Canyons outscored RHC 15-11 over the final 10 minutes to tie the game and force an overtime period before eventually pulling away for good.
Orellana led COC down the stretch, scoring 10 of her game-high 26 points during the extra period. The sophomore also tallied 10 assists, six rebounds and four steals in the victory. No other player scored for COC in overtime.
COC freshman Cristian Patron finished with 17 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, while Stoehr ended the game with 16 points and a pair of steals.
Canyons will now advance to face East L.A. College at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9.
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.
—Photo by Jacob Velarde/COC Sports Information