In leading up to the official start of the 2018-19 athletics campaign at Irvine Valley, which starts on Aug. 25 with the IVC men's soccer team at Yavapai in Arizona, the Laser athletic department is counting down the top 10 IVC sports stories from the 2017-18 school year.
The No. 3 story of the year is about one of the best IVC women's basketball seasons in school history. The Lasers ended with a record f 26-5 overall, earned a share of the Orange Empire Conference title and were ranked No. 8 in the final state poll. Standout post player Kasey Smit broke a ton of program records and five sophomores earned four-year scholarships.
The Irvine Valley women's basketball team had a season to remember.
Irvine Valley ended the year with a record of 26-5 overall. The Lasers earned a share of the Orange Empire Conference title and were ranked among the top 10 teams in the state for most of the season. Sophomore forward Kasey Smit was named the OEC most valuable player with coach Julie Hanks earning co-coach of the year honors in the conference.
Irvine Valley was ranked No. 8 in the final state poll of the year.
Irvine Valley made the CCCAA State Championship tournament for the second time in school history in March.
The Lasers lost to Sierra, 94-75, in the quarterfinals of the state tourney. IVC led, 37-26, at the half, but Sierra had too much in the end.
Irvine Valley was paced by Smit, who finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman guard Lexi Vail added 16 points, six rebounds and four assists, sophomore guard Elizabeth Garcia had 15 points and five assists and freshman guard Cydnie Danan ended with 14 points.
IVC moved on to the state tourney with one of the biggest wins in school history. The Lasers rallied for a 76-71 victory at two-time defending state champion Mt. SAC.
The Lasers, seeded No. 10, put up 33 points in the fourth quarter to rally and beat No. 2 Mt. San Antonio on the road in a game for a berth in the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship.
IVC scored its most points in a quarter this season to come back. Irvine Valley moved on to its second state tournament appearance in program history.
Smit led the Lasers with 28 points and 13 rebounds. Vail had 15 points and four rebounds, Garcia finished with 14 points and six rebounds and Danan and sophomore forward Kiara Warren each contributed eight points for Irvine Valley.
Danan played a team-high 40 minutes.
IVC shot 43.1 percent (25 of 58) from the field, while Mt. SAC shot 36.5 percent (27 of 74) from the field. The Lasers out-rebounded Mt. SAC, 45-41.
Smit was at the forefront all season.
She was named a Women's Basketball Coaches Association Two-Year College All-American honorable mention selection.
Smit was one of 19 honorable mention selections and one of just four from California.
She was named the OEC Most Valuable Player and also picked to the South Region All-State Team.
IVC won at Riverside, 82-79, in overtime on Feb. 15 to earn a part of the OEC title.
And Smit cemented her conference MVP honors with one of her best games of the season, finishing with an incredible 39 points and 23 rebounds in the win. She was 16 of 28 from the field and 4 of 7 from three-point range.
With the 23 rebounds, Smit moved into first place in IVC program history with 366 rebounds in a season. She ended the season with 408 rebounds and had 601 rebounds for her career at IVC.
She recorded the three-best rebounding games in Laser history this season, grabbing 24 rebounds against Southwestern and 23 rebounds against both Riverside and Saddleback.
Smit also became the leading scorer for a season with 593 points this past year. And she ranks third all-time in program history in points with 829.
Smit had games of 39 points and 34 points this season. Her 39 points against Riverside tied for second-best in IVC history.
She finished the year averaging 19.1 points, 13.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.2 steals and 2.1 blocks per game. She had 22 double-doubles on the year and was also shooting 48.0 percent from the floor.
And in conference action, Smit was even better, averaging 24.4 points, 14.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.1 blocks a game, while shooting 54.2 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three-point range.
Smit was also named the CCCSIA female athlete of the month for January after finishing the month averaging 24.1 points, 14.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.9 blocks a game The Lasers went 9-0 in January.
Smit signed and will play this coming season at NCAA Division II Cal Poly Pomona.
Garcia was named first team all-conference along with Smit and Vail and Warren were picked to the second team.
Garcia averaged 10.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game and Warren averaged 9.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.7 steals a game, while shooting 50 percent from the floor this past year.