After wins over Los Angeles Southwest and San Diego Mesa, the Hornets advanced to the tournament final against the Chaffey Panthers.
Led by guards Blake McBride and Julian Richardson, the Hornets were able to open up a double-digit lead with 12 minutes left in the first half and never looked back. McBride finished with nine points and seven assists.
“We have some good shooters so we wanted to get them out of their zone and use our bigger post players to beat them,” said McBride.
The Hornets were able to get as much as a 16 point lead in the first half. Chaffey responded with full-court pressure and a few baskets of their own, cutting the deficit to eight points.
Aided by forward Kenny Barnes’ six points in a two minute span, the Hornets were able to regain a double-digit lead.
Fullerton lead at halftime 43-30.
Both Fullerton and Chaffey exchanged baskets to start the second half. The Panthers got as close as nine after a 6-0 run.
After a timeout, Richardson responded with a 6-0 run of his own, including a 3-pointer which got the crowd and Fullerton bench cheering. Richardson and Barnes led Fullerton in scoring with 19 points a piece.
“We knew they were going to make a run, but it was important to match their intensity and we were able to do that,” said Richardson.
Head coach Perry Webster was complimentary towards the defense which held the Panthers to just 27 percent shooting.
“We stuck to the game plan defensively and showed maturity taking our time on offense to slow them down,” said Webster. “We brought it tonight. We competed as a team for 40 minutes and beat a good team, a good program and this win puts us on the map.”
Fullerton College (5-1) have already surpassed last season’s win total of four and look to continue to improve throughout the season. The Hornets next game is Tuesday at 6 p.m., when they host Palomar College (1-2).