The Thousand Oaks High girls basketball team never looks forward to traveling to the Channel Islands High gym.
The Lancers have come to expect a tough game from the Raiders on their home court.
On Tuesday night, however, the Lancers countered that home-court advantage with some tough defense to take a 63-56 Marmonte League victory over Channel Islands.
"I'm always glad to get out of this gym with a win, whether it's one point or seven points," Thousand Oaks Coach Chuck Brown said.
Both teams were cold in the first quarter and played evenly until Thousand Oaks' forward Kris Pederson warmed up and scored six points in the last three minutes of the period to give the Lancers an 18-6 lead.
"Pederson had one of the best games I've ever seen her play," Brown said. "She's been the glue that holds us together, but tonight she showed a lot more talent than she gets recognition for."
Pederson led a balanced scoring attack with 17 points for Thousand Oaks (13-3, 2-0).
Brown also praised the play of guard Shani Smyth, who scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half.
Thousand Oaks' defense kept Channel Islands out of the lane the entire game and forced the smaller Raiders to take long outside shots.
The Lancers' defense forced Channel Islands point guard Josie Vasquez into attempting 20 three-point shots. Vasquez connected on six of the bombs and led Channel Islands (11-3, 1-1) with a game-high 20 points.
After taking a 33-25 halftime lead, the Lancers got their fast break in gear in the third quarter and opened up the biggest lead of the game, 52-38. Center Barbara Tanner scored 7 of her 13 points in the quarter.
Channel Islands battled back in the final period when Vasquez hit three three-point shots to cut Thousand Oaks' lead to 58-50 with 1:36 left.
Too little time and too many fouls ended any hopes for Channel Islands. Pederson made 6 of 8 free throws and Smyth added five points in the fourth quarter.
Thousand Oaks outrebounded Channel Islands, 36-32. Tanner had nine and Pederson had eight to lead the Lancers.
Although Thousand Oaks forward Lina Mascarenas was held to six points, all in the first half, she was a key to the defense, which forced 17 Channel Islands turnovers.