STOCKTON — Five rows from the floor at center court at the Spanos Center, sits Monica Hang.
The Glendale College women's basketball coach is wearing the red-and-white of her program, but on her left hand sits a 2002 Ventura College state championship ring, which Hang won here in Stockton with the Pirates.
"We were driving past EL Torito," said Hang, "and I told the story of how the fans chanted 'VC' while carrying the trophy around the restaurant."
Other stars of the team that class of '02, which won back-to-back state championships in completing the state's first three-peat, messaged from afar.
"I am so jealous," sent Sarah (Kolbeck) Angel, now the Villanova Prep girls' basketball coach, in a text message. "I hope these girls realize how precious the memories are that they're making right now!
"They have a tough road but doable."
Guard Kelly Murray, who won the tournament Most Valuable Player award in 2001, sent good luck SMS messages, as did guard Monique Taylor, who won the state's Player of the Year award in 2002.
"I'm so happy for them," messaged Taylor from Oxnard. "I love that my banners still hang as the last two years they've won state, but it would be refreshing to see a new one.
"Keep me posted."
Ventura enters tonight's quarterfinal 9-0 in this building with three state championships
"It's good to be back," said assistant coach Robin Hester, who said hello to his parents following the game in Independence, Kansas and his wife back in Ventura.