The Hornet Women’s Basketball team who hosted their Alumni team Saturday night, won the competitive matchup in front of close family, friends, and supporters with the final score of 70-62.
Sophomore guard Aliyah-Deen Ahmad’s performance with 20 points and 7 rebounds propelled the Hornets to victory as she sealed the game with a bold euro step in the last minute of the Colleen Riley Alumni Game.
The Hornets head coach, Marcia Foster, was proud of the team’s overall performance. “First of all, let’s just start by saying our Alumni team is not your typical Alumni team, our Alumni team is very good. A lot of these young women are in their prime playing basketball, so it was good for us to play great players like that,” said Foster.
The FC alumni team included Amanda Frost, Kelli Calton, Eshell Estrella, Chanel Benson, Kelly Thompson, Tai Huskey, Loren Gurrola, Becky Hogue, and Carlisha Phillips, coached by FC Hall of Fame Coach Debi Woelke.
The Alumni players started off strong and were ahead by the end of the first quarter. Both sides were hustling for every ball possession and were eager to give their fans a good game in the exhibition matchup.
To the surprise of the Hornets, the Alumni matched their intensity and wouldn’t let up. The crowd could sense the flashbacks of the Alumni’s as they showed how they distribute the ball throughout using their style unique style of play.
However, the Hornets never waved. They kept close and were positioning themselves to be in striking distance for the all-out attempt to reclaim the lead after the end of the first quarter. A key moment in the quarter was when Sophomore guard Aliyah-Deen Ahmad converted on an and-one to keep the Hornets close.
In the second quarter, the Hornets regained the lead and took back control to get momentum back on their side. This excited many of the fans who were current students cheering for the Hornets. Their youth and energy showed as they tried to put out the Alumni team early. The Alumni team’s response was to apply full-court pressure in hopes of trying to make the Hornets turnover the ball.
During halftime, Alumni players shared what year they played on the women’s basketball team and what their career is now. After every Alumni shared their information, all fans in attendance showed their appreciation and clapped. The earliest Alumni players that came out to watch and play this game played for Fullerton College in 1970.
Towards the middle of the third quarter, the Alumni tried to take the lead, but once again fell short as the Hornets extended the lead to double digits with a score of 48-38.
The Hornets were winning key offensive rebounds to add on second-chance points that contributed to their lead. Hornet forward/center Shenise West was the benefactor of exploiting this by using her size as she cleaned up on the boards for the Hornet.
Parents of Alumni player Irene Kim were enthusiastically cheering on their daughter’s team every possession. It was imminent that the Alumni chose to shoot more three-pointers as a strategy to cut the lead by the efforts of Amanda Frost.
The Alumni’s intensity rose as they fought to come back with three minutes and 39 seconds left in the game. They were down 60-53, with Irene Kim, who played for the Hornets in 2002-2003, orchestrating as the point guard and was trying to feed shooters like Amanda Frost the ball in an effort to come back.
“It feels so good playing with the same girls. It just feels memorable and it just brings you all the way back to 2011 as soon as you step in,” said Amanda Frost. She played for the Hornets women’s basketball team from 2010-2011.
When the Alumni made their final run, crowds for both sides cheered the loudest in trying to rally their teams into the finish.
However, the Hornets were just too powerful inside the paint on both ends of the court by dominating in inside points as well as offensive and defensive rebounds for the entirety of the game. This would prove to be the determining factor in separating both sides when the final buzzer rang.
Freshman, Shenise West who had a lot of rebounds throughout the game, recalled she had around 15 rebounds. “I think we did well, our defense wasn’t as strong. We need to talk on defense, get back, but for the most part, our offense was attacking,” said West.
Coach Foster praised her freshman forward/center Shenise West’s efforts as she led the team in rebounding throughout the game. “I liked that we didn’t quit and that we came up with great rebounds. I like that one of my young kids Shenise West was all over the board,” said Foster.
The Alumni team had a lot of momentum going for them in the third quarter. “We haven’t had a team with that much speed, that much strength, and that much intelligence press us and so that’s just good for us going forward,” said Foster.
The Lady Hornets (3-2 overall) will play in the L.A. Valley College Tournament this weekend, Dec. 7-9.