Fullerton lost a heartbreaker at home to conference-leading No. 17 Irvine Valley College Wednesday night 77-70.
Momentum was going the Hornets way in the first half as they took the first and second quarters. IVC jumped out to a 7-3 lead at the start, but Fullerton did not go away snatching the lead back (13-11) at 2:29 on a layup by Tristian Johns. The first quarter ended with FC up 16-11 due in part by Jaelyn Alderette's jumper.
The Lasers came out in the second quarter on a mission taking back the lead by 19-17 at 6:42, but FC had a secret weapon. Fia Tailele-Latu took over the final 5 minutes of the first half driving the lane, dishing out no-look assists, and making free throws that put Fullerton ahead 33-28 by the time both teams exited the floor for halftime.
The third quarter got off to a good start for Fullerton as Moriah Serrano dropped in a three-pointer giving them a 36-28 lead. Irvine Valley slowly crept their way back into the game taking over 45-43 at 4:28 on a three by Emma Vasquez. From there, the Lasers controlled the third quarter ending it with a 52-48 lead.
The fourth quarter had the Hornets getting within 2 points (52-50), but Irvine Valley found a way to keep their distance going on a 10-2 run (62-52 at 6:55). With 4 minutes left in regulation, Fullerton fought back and got within 3 points (67-64). However, IVC distanced themselves with another run (8-2) that put the Lasers up for good at 75-66.
Tristian Johns had a big night for the Hornets scoring a game-high 32 points. Her career-high is 35 points, which she scored against Copper Mountain on January 25th. Johns also had 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Fia Tailele-Latu dropped in 14 points, had 5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. Moriah Serrano put up 8 points with 6 rebounds, and Katie Salas scored 6 with 4 rebounds.
Up Next: The Hornets (13-10 overall, 5-4 OEC) will look to get back on track when they hit the road this Friday, February 8th against Santa Ana College. Tip-off is at 7:00 pm.