Mesa strikes back against Mira Costa

Dee Dee Williams, Staff Writer

The Lady Olympians got exactly what they were looking for on Friday at Mesa College gym: a revenge on the Mira Costa College Spartans.

The ladies were very satisfied with their 51-35 victory.

“We lost to them last time in a heartbreaker at the buzzer,” sophomore guard Staci Gregorio said. “It was a good revenge game.”

Gregorio scored 14 points in the game, making her the second leading scorer. Amazingly, Gregorio has been playing the entire season with a torn ACL in her left knee, yet she still averages 13 points a game.

“The courage and heart and selflessness she’s shown as one of our co-captains is something I’ve never seen in my 22 years of coaching,” coach Mike Hootner said.

Hootner is very passionate about coaching. He has a very calm demeanor outside of a game setting. The love for his team is shown on the court as he kneels and paces the floor, screaming out plays and demands, hungry for the win.

“We’re happy to play two good games in a row,” Hootner said. “We are finally playing 40 minutes of basketball, so that’s all we can ask this late in the season.”

There were a couple of standout players that held the team together and honed their skills at the perfect moments. Michaela Nichols, a sophomore guard, seemed to be in every play, giving her all on offense.

The Lady Olympians remained ahead throughout the whole game. Entering the second- half with a score of 35-11, the team didn’t let the advantage get to their heads and continued to play good basketball, well aware of their opponent’s capabilities.

“They have good shooters. They make jump shots. They play hard,” said freshman guard Kimberly Scott, who scored 31 points and had 7 rebounds. Scott, the leading scorer in PCAC, averages 19.5 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals and almost 3.5 assists per game. It is possible that she will be named the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference player of the year, All-State and All-American. Voting for these awards will take place in March.

Finishing off the second-half, the Spartans had a very hard time scoring against the Olympians’ stout defense. During the last few minutes, they didn’t let up and continued rebounding while drawing fouls from Mira Costa’s defense. Melissa Ferback played well, posting up on offense and grabbing rebounds. Mesa pushed the ball upcourt with ease and gave Mira Costa all they could handle. These ladies left their hearts out on the gym floor and accumulated a deserved win.

“I feel good,” said Kimberly Scott, laughing. “We needed it.”

The Lady Olympians are excited over their win, but they still have their eyes on the prize. Now they have a chance to upset all three of the premier teams in their division.