Dariel Johnson did two things never done before in Pasadena City College women's basketball history Friday night. She performed the program's first points-rebounds-blocks triple-double and set a new school record for blocked shots in a game with 12 as icing on the cake, helping PCC win the Crossover Challenge Tournament championship over LA Trade Tech, 65-58. The final was played at Cerritos College.
Johnson put on a post clinic as she scored 28 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and used her 12 blocks to rally the state No. 9-ranked Lancers to the upset over No. 5-rated LA Trade Tech. PCC improved to 15-3 overall while the Beavers dropped to 17-3. Naturally, the 6-foot-2 Pasadena High grad Johnson was named MVP of the tourney.
Johnson performed only the sixth triple-double in school history and the first since Dominique Scott (10 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) performed the feat in 2010 v. Las Positas.
The Lancers broke a 4-game losing streak v. LA Trade Tech, last winning v. the Beavers in 2016. Currently, red-hot PCC, directed by head coach Joe Peron, has won six of its last seven games and three in a row, including tourney wins over No. 13-rated Ventura and No. 17 Glendale.
PCC trailed 23-16 after one quarter and then 30-20 late in period two. But the Lancers defense (now No. 2 at 50.4 points allowed per game) went to work, shutting down LA Trade Tech's high-scoring No. 2-in-the-state offense while scoring the last eight points of the half to cut it to 30-28. Johnson hit a 3-pointer, scored a jumper off her own offensive rebound and blocked a shot that led to a Balmy jumper with six seconds left before halftime.
Although the game remained close, Trade Tech took a 45-40 lead into the fourth quarter. The lead was built to seven points, but PCC roared back with some high-octane offense of its own. Daniela Mendez sank a basket to end a 7-0 run that tied it at 47-47. After Cheyenne Mckinnie netted a 3, PCC trailed 51-49. With 4:34 left, the Lancers finally took control as Balmy made 1-of-2 free throws for a 52-51 PCC advantage. A Johnson steal led to a Balmy layup that capped a 10-0 scoring run and a 59-51 lead with 3:08 left. Johnson scored PCC's final six points as the Lancers outscored LATT, 25-13, in the quarter.
Cheyenne Givens scored 23 points for the Beavers, who saw a 5-game win streak snapped.
Pasadena won despite just four players reaching the scoring column as Mendez added five points to the All-Tourney trio's 60 combined.
On Wednesday, Jan. 23, the Lancers begin South Coast Conference North Division play when they travel to face SoCal No. 14-ranked Rio Hondo. PCC will play two games each in division play against Trade Tech, state No. 6-ranked East Los Angeles and state #11-rated Mt. San Antonio. Incredibly in just one 6-team division, SoCal No. 2 Trade Tech, No. 3 ELAC, No. 4 PCC, and No. 6 Mt. San Antonio all will battle for the conference crown. ELAC won the other Crossover Challenge title (Blue Bracket), defeating El Camino, 71-51, again showing the power of the state's most difficult conference--the SCC North.