College of the Canyons women’s basketball lost to Bakersfield 74-72 in a hard-fought battle that came down the last second at College of the Canyons on Wednesday night.
Cristian Patron led the Cougars (9-11 overall, 4-3 WSC, South) with 23 points. A lot of her scoring came as a result of her ability to reach the free-throw line.
“I shot a lot of free throws today,” Patron said. “I usually don’t get that many so I tried to take advantage of that. I just tried to drive in as much as I could and get to the line.”
Other standouts for Canyons were McKenzie Stoehr (18 points) and Diamyn Davis, who had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
“I went out there and did my job,” Davis said. “Tried to work with my team and get the win, but unfortunately we couldn’t carry it out.”
The Cougars came out hot and appeared to be on course for a typical Canyons first half. The team built its lead as high as 11 points in the first quarter. A 7-0 run by the Renegades (9-12, 3-4) brought them back within striking distance and diminished the Cougars’ lead to 19-15.
“(Bakersfield) played with energy,” said Canyons head coach Greg Herrick. “I don’t think they’re necessarily better than us, but it shows you what you can do when you play with some energy.”
College of the Canyons kept the same attack through the second quarter, but the Bakersfield defense keyed in on its plan. There may as well have been a string attached to the ball and anyone in a red jersey as the Cougars struggled to maintain possession.
“When you give anybody second or third shots, they’re going to make them,” Herrick said. “We couldn’t get those either, loose balls, rebounds – I don’t know what to tell you.”
A slight change in the game plan brought good fortune to the Canyons offense. It backed away from the basket and took shots from range, giving momentum back to the Cougars. A Stoehr 3-pointer with 32 seconds remaining gave Canyons back the lead.
With only seven seconds remaining before halftime, Bakersfield’s Janaye Herron knocked down a close-range jumper to give the Renegades a one-point lead. Malia Semana attempted to respond with a half-court shot, but it bounced off the backboard and skimmed the outside of the rim.
The second half was a back and forth battle between the Cougars and the Renegades. Up until the final buzzer sounded, the game could have gone either way. Neither team would relent in a game that had 13 lead changes.
Things seemed grim for the Cougars when the Renegades were able to separate themselves by more than a possession. However, they fought back and a deep 3-pointer from Stoehr off of an inbound pass tied the game.
“The only thing going through my head was, ‘We’ve got to score. We’ve got to tie this game up,’” Stoehr said. “The play was set up for three and we just executed, and things fall into place when you execute.”
The excitement had reached its peak and it looked like the Cougars faithful were about to be treated with an extra period of basketball. All the Cougars needed was one final stop.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, Bakersfield’s Alyssa Gonzalez delivered the final blow to end any comeback. A mid-range jumper sealed the fate of the game and gave the Renegades the two-point victory.
The Cougars will play their next game at home against Antelope Valley. The game will be at 5 p.m.