By Nick Giannandrea
There was good, bad and ugly for state No. 14-ranked COS (7-3) during the 43rd annual Gilcrest Invitational women's basketball tournament over the weekend at Porter Field House.
A 67-66 come-from-behind victory over College of the Canyons (2-4) on Dec. 5 that saw the Giants rally from a 24-point deficit late in the third quarter.
A 56-53 loss to No. 2 Ventura (9-0-) in the semifinals Dec. 6 where COS allowed an 11-point lead late in the third quarter to evaporate.
And the ugly?
An 89-56 loss to No. 3 San Joaquin Delta (8-1) in the third-place game Dec. 7 that was never close after the Giants fell behind 24-9 in the first quarter.
* COS 67, Canyons 66: The unranked Cougars opened a 53-29 lead over the Giants with 2:56 remaining in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Diamyn Davis.
COS responded by outscoring Canyons 11-2 the rest of the third quarter.
The Giants kept their momentum rolling by opening the fourth quarter with a 17-0 run - including two 3-pointers from Serena Ybarra (Coalinga) and a pair of layups by Alaysia Reed (Las Vegas) - to take a 57-55 lead.
But Canyons rallied with a 10-2 run, capped by McKenzie Stoehr's basket, to go up 65-59 with 3:40 left.
COS' Felicia Ramirez (Caruthers) made 1 of 2 free throws with 25.1 seconds to play to tie the score 66-66.
After a Canyons turnover, the Giants took possession with 18 seconds to play and set up for one last shot.
Ramirez drew a foul off a baseline drive, made the first of two free throws with 1.3 seconds left, then rebounded her miss as time expired.
Ramirez finished with seven points, a game-leading 16 rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block.
Aubrey Nunes (El Diamante) led COS in scoring with 17 points while adding seven rebounds. Ybarra scored 14 points, Reed had nine points and three assists, while Sapphire Jones contributed eight points, eight rebounds and three steals for the Giants.
* Ventura 56, COS 53: A 3-pointer by McKenna Hsiung (Bakersfield High) with 5:41 left in the third quarter gave the Giants their biggest lead of the game at 38-37.
But the Pirates whittled their deficit to 39-38 by the end of the third.
Sapphire Jones' layup with 8:08 remaining in the game capped a 6-0 COS run to open the fourth quarter.
Ventura, however, outscored the Giants 18-8 the rest of the way.
The Pirates went ahead for good, 48-47, with 5:14 to play on a pair of free throws by Talia Taufaasau.
COS had possession down 55-53 with 1:15 remaining, but committed a turnover, failed to rebound a Ventura missed shot at the other end and were forced to foul with 19 seconds left.
Kimora Pooler sank two free throws for the Pirates to seal the outcome.
Reed had 14 points, four steals and three rebounds to lead the Giants.
COS also received 11 points and five steals from Ybarra, 11 points from Jones (Hanford) and 10 points and four rebounds from Ramirez.
Madison Kast, formerly of Redwood High, had 10 points and five rebounds for Ventura.
* Delta 89, COS 56: A 14-2 Mustangs run midway through the first quarter put the Giants in a hole they would not recover from.
Delta's lead swelled to 21 points (50-29) by halftime and reached a high of 37 points (89-52) with 3:27 left in the game on Kiara Manipol's 3-pointer.
Neli Diaz (McFarland) led the Giants with 11 points.
Nunes contributed 10 points, Reed had nine points and four rebounds, Elyssa Brumfield (Golden Valley-Bakersfield) had eight points, and Jones added six points and seven rebounds for COS.
Ventura held on for a 61-56 win over No. 7 Mt. San Antonio (7-3) for the Gilcrest championship.
The Giants return to action Dec. 13-15 at the L.A. Valley Tournament.
COS is scheduled to open against No. 9 L.A. Trade Tech (8-2) at 7 p.m. Dec. 13.