As they try to keep pace in the Orange Empire Conference standings, the Fullerton Hornets overcame a slow start against the Irvine Valley College Lasers by winning 62-37.
With the home victory over their conference opponents, Fullerton improves to 6-2 in the OEC standings and sits in second place behind Orange Coast College as the regular season enters its final month.
“The game was a little slow… we just had to pick the speed up and get some fast break points and get some layups. Eventually it came. We got some rebounds, pushed the ball and got some layups,” said sophomore guard Jason Richardson who led the team with 17 points.
The home tilt began with the Hornets showing high intensity on defense by forcing a shot clock violation on the Lasers and forcing them to miss shots early on.
Yet, with their possessions, Fullerton was also unable to score and had trouble maintaining ball control as they turned over the ball four times within the first four minutes of the contest.
It wasn’t until sophomore guard Khalil Stevenson made a layup to give Fullerton its first basket of the night. From then on, Fullerton held the lead and controlled the game.
“The guys just had to settle in and play. For whatever reason they were a little fidgety to start the game. They have got to pay with more confidence and more aggressiveness, I thought they did a better job of that in the second half,” said head coach Perry Webster.
The Hornets physical play inside aided them in controlling the game and limiting Irvine’s opportunities to collect rebounds and second chance scoring opportunities. The Hornets out rebounded the Lasers 47-28, being led by freshman center Ronnie Readus who had 11 rebounds.
“It was just the focus in practice. We scouted them out… so we knew the plays and it was all anticipation at that point,” stated Readus.
In the second half, both offenses made shots early on as they went back and forth swapping baskets.
Fullerton’s defense shored up towards the middle of the half as they began to put away the Lasers and built themselves a sizable lead as the game winded down.
The victory keeps the Hornets in the race for first in the OEC as the season reaches its final stretch.
“Everybody is focused. We all got one goal and that’s to win, so that’s what everybody’s intentions are,” Richardson added.
Fullerton’s next game will be on the road against Saddleback College on Feb. 2.