DJ's Historic Triple-Double Helps Women's Hoops Win Crossover Challenge Tourney Title

PCC takes a team photo following winning the Crossover Challenge Tournament title Friday night. MVP Dariel Johnson is in the bottom row far right holding her award.
PCC takes a team photo following winning the Crossover Challenge Tournament title Friday night. MVP Dariel Johnson is in the bottom row far right holding her award.

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. 

Mariah Cathcart and Cosette Balmy each added 16 points for the Lancers and both were selected to the All-Crossover Challenge Tournament Team with Johnson. 

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.