The Hornets men’s basketball team defeated Santa Rosa College in the quarterfinal game of the CCCAA State Championships, 71-68, at Ventura College Thursday night.
This will be the second time in four seasons, that Fullerton will advance to the semi-finals under Head Coach Perry Webster. Both teams came in the quarterfinals with a record of 28-3 and were not going to down without a fight.
At the start of the game Santa Rosa got off to an early lead 4-0, but FC sophomore guard Rodrick McCobb would fire back with a 3-pointer to stop their run.
Shot after shot, rebound after rebound with a little over 13 minutes left in the first half, the teams were tied at 16-16. After a slew of missed shots and turnovers for nearly two minutes, both teams were scoreless.
Hornet sophomore point guard Dylan Banks drives in a layup to get the momentum back on the Hornets side. However, the Bear Cubs Skyler Chavez would answer back with his own layup.
As the Hornets would start to make a run, Santa Rosa would be on their heels to keep the game in arms reach. After numerous lead changes, the Bear Cubs would get their second lead of the game at three with eight minutes left in the first half.
Not to be out done, Hornets McCobb would make a 3-pointer to tie the game yet again at 23-23. Nearly a minute gone by and the Hornets offense would press on the gas and never let up.
With seven minutes to go before the half, Santa Rosa Lead Fullerton 25-24 for the next two and a half minutes. Both teams looking for some stops on defense, sophomore guard Lance Coleman II makes a driving layup to give the Hornets the lead.
Fullerton went on a 11-6 run leaving the Bear Cubs in dismay on defense. Despite the run, the Hornets made the Bear Cubs stay aggressive and only trailed by three.
However, as the clock winds down and just three seconds left before halftime, Banks found an open sophomore guard in Jailen Moore who drained a 3-pointer giving the Hornets a 37-31 lead.
The second half was no different than the first with shot after shot, rebound after rebound. Both teams came out on fire and although the Hornets went up by five, the Bear Cubs got within two.
Just over 12 minutes in the game, both teams were tied at 46-46. Santa Rosa had a slight lead one minute at 51-49, but FC’s Banks made two free throws and brought the score back to 51-51.
The Bear Cubs went on a 5-0 run, but that didn’t last long once sophomore center Ronne Readus went to the charity strike. He made both free throws and Coleman II followed up with a 3-pointer and the score is now 56-56.
Fullerton quickly called a timeout. Santa Rosa came out of the timeout and went on a 7-0 run taking a 63-56 lead, with only five and a half minutes left in the game.
The Hornets clawed their way back into the game and Moore punched a 3-pointer, then Coleman II added in another 3-pointer to stop the Bear Cubs run. Down 63-59 the last three minutes forced the Hornets to play their best defense by attacking the boards and getting stops.
Fullerton went on a 5-3 run and only trailed 66-65, after three back to back 3-pointers made by Coleman II, followed by a layup with under two minutes left to play.
Sant Rosa quickly took a timeout to regroup. 33 seconds remained in the game and the Bear Cubs took a 68-67 lead.
Coleman II made two clutch free throws to put the Honrets back up on top 69-68. Just 10 seconds remained and Coleman II would be back at the charity strike making both bringing the score 71-68 Fullerton.
Game clock at 10 seconds, shot clock off, Santa Rosa had a chance to make a shot to tie the game and go into overtime, but was denied a shot and Readus nabbed the rebound.
Lance Coleman ll scored Fullerton’s last 13 points making him the leading score with 31 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, and 2 assists. Ronne Readus had a double-double with 12 points, 11 rebound, and 2 assists, while Jailen Moore chipped in with 12 points, 3 rebounds, and an assist.
Fullerton will return to Ventura College to play in the semi-final game against Fresno City College Saturday, March 16 at 3 p.m.