By Jonathan Bechtol
City College 63, Foothill 58
Needing a win to stay relevant in the conference race for first place, the City College women’s basketball team defeated Foothill College 63-58 on Jan. 13 at the Wellness Center in a game featuring three of the conference’s top five scorers.
Rams freshman Olivia Overtone-Mayorga stood at the foul line with under a minute remaining, her team up by one, and the ball in her hands for the first and potentially last shot of the 1-1 penalty bonus free throw. The Rams needed her to make both to avoid the possibility of the Owl’s gaining possession on a rebound with a chance to win the game. She did.
City College led 61-58 with 30 seconds left on the game clock and were able to hold on. Foothill had two chances to tie the game with the clock winding down but the Rams defense didn’t allow any open looks.
“I’m happy with the team’s defensive performance,” said head coach Jamie Hayes. “We got them out of sync and were able to play our game.”
It hadn’t seemed like it would come down to a nail-biter midway through the second half when the Rams held a 12-point lead, their largest of the game. Foothill came charging on an 18-6 run to tie the game at 54 with four minutes remaining. Sophomore Janis Peterson made a free throw and on the ensuing possession, Peterson threw an upcourt pass to Rachelle Smith for a lay-up giving City College the lead again, 57-54.
Peterson, averaging 18.2 points per game on the season, scored 11 of her 16 points in the second half. She had injured her knee with eight minutes left in the first half and remained on the sidelines being checked out by a trainer for the rest of the half. She had a bag of ice taped to her knee when she walked to the locker room at halftime.
After the game Peterson spoke of her injury.
“It was hurting the whole time in the second half, but I’m here for my team. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.”
The Owls were down most of the game yet seemed always within reach of the Rams, due in part to their full court pressing defense. Coach Hayes told her team “don’t let the pressure get to you…be confident.”
The Rams turned the ball over 22 times, but when it came down to it they handled the pressure well and converted on several fast break lay-ups after shredding the press.
The game’s physical play was highlighted when Olivia Overtone-Mayorga collided with Owl’s player Rechel Carter while scrambling for a loose ball, sending Carter flying into the KCSF radio station banner next to the scorekeeper’s table. Both players got up with no injuries.
Freshman forward Rachelle Smith contributed 16 points. She also had 13 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end giving City College extra opportunities to score.
Sophomore Chiarra Duncan-Perry finished with a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Rams are half a game behind first-place San Mateo, who recently handed City College a loss. They are tied with Foothill and Skyline for second in the North Coast Conference.
City College’s next home game is against Skyline College on Jan. 25. Tip off is 5 p.m.