The CCCAA championship hopes for the Hornets have come to an end after Friday’s 70-67 overtime loss to Allan Hancock College on Feb. 23.
In game that saw the Hornets rally back to force overtime on their home court, the shots just didn’t fall in their favor as the Bulldogs were able to edge out Fullerton and their season.
“I think we left it all out there. I just think sometimes things don’t go your way and that was one of these nights. A couple of shots we needed to go didn’t go down. It’s just the type of night it was,” said sophomore guard Jason Richardson, the team’s leader who finished the game with 24 points and nine assists.
Both offenses got to hot starts early matching bucket for bucket in the first half. The biggest lead being a six point Fullerton lead that was eventually cut to two as the half came to a close.
“We went out there and executed and did what we were supposed to do as far as game planning and stopping the other team,” said Richardson.
Fullerton held their lead to start the second half and went up by seven points in the first five minutes. Yet, the Bulldogs’ five second half 3-pointers got them back into the game and into a 56-48 lead, their biggest of the game.
In the final five minutes, Fullerton rallied their way back and tied the game at 60 points a piece in the final minute.
“We’re not the type of team to ever give up. You have to play hard for 40 minutes. We’re never going to give up and just let a team beat us,” said sophomore guard Akil Reese
With just over four seconds left in regulation, sophomore guard Khalil Stevenson’s shot was no good but the rebound managed to find itself in the hands of his teammate Reese.
As the buzzer went off, the sophomore’s the potential game winning jump shot kicked off the back of rim leaving the game tied 60-60.
In overtime, the game continued to go in favor of the Bulldogs but the Hornets were able to stay within two points of them in the final 30 seconds.
After sending the Bulldogs to the free throw line, the Hornets found themselves needing a 3-point play to keep their hopes alive.
With less than 10 second left Stevenson passed to Reese who was unable to get an open shot. Reese was then able to get the ball to Richardson, but the Bulldog defense was all over him as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
As Richardson looked to shake his defender the ball came loose, but was quickly recovered by Stevenson. With the final second on the clock, Stevenson tossed up a desperation 3-pointer that was no good ending the Hornets season.
“Sometimes balls don’t just bounce your way,” Reese said on the team’s loss.
The 2017-18 Hornets finish their season with an overall record of 20-8, and for another year, their championship hopes remain unfulfilled.