The Irvine Valley women's basketball team saved some of its best for last on Saturday night in its most important game of the season so far.
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.
Mt. SAC was the two-time defending state champion.
IVC scored its most points in a quarter this season to come back for a 76-71 victory.
The win moves Irvine Valley on to its second-ever appearance in the state event.
The eight-team tournament starts on Thursday at Ventura College. IVC will be the fourth-seed from So. Cal. and will take on No. 1 Sierra at 5 p.m.
Irvine Valley, the co-Orange Empire Conference champion, improved its record to 26-4 on the year with the win at Mt. SAC on Saturday.
The Lasers were up, 28-27, at the half, but Mt. SAC out-scored IVC, 20-15, in the third quarter to take a 48-43 lead heading into the final period.
But that is when Irvine Valley played its best.
The Lasers scored 33 points. It was the second time this year that Irvine Valley had a 30-point quarter.
IVC scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to take the lead for good. Sophomore forward Kiara Warren made a basket inside, freshman guard Lexi Vail converted a layup, sophomore guard Elizabeth Garcia had a three-point playing then Vail drained a three-pointer to put the Lasers ahead, 53-50m with 7:38 left in the game.
Mt. SAC scored the next four points, taking a 54-53 lead on a jumper by Myjoi Adams.
But Garcia came back with a three-pointer to give Irvine Valley a 56-54 advantage with 6:46 remaining.
Sophomore forward Kasey Smit made a layup, was fouled and converted the free throw after a Mt. SAC turnover to put IVC ahead, 59-54 with 6:09 left.
Vail sank a three-pointer the next time down for IVC to put the Lasers up by six points.
But Mt. SAC made a run and tied the game at 67 on a layup by Dominique McLaughlin with 55 seconds left.
Irvine Valley's Cydnie Danan made her biggest shot of the season so far, sinking a three-pointer with 43 seconds left to give her game a 70-67 lead.
IVC held on from there.
Danan made a free throw, Smit sank two free throws, Vail made a free throw and Warren dropped in two free throws to seal the win.
Smit, the Orange Empire Conference MVP, 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 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.