Undefeated at home, the Fullerton Hornets won the game against the Santiago Canyon Hawks on Wednesday; the final score 83-76.
Hornet Kobe Newton, a guard, started the scoring with a 3-pointer less than a minute into the game. It would be another 2 points for Fullerton and another three minutes before Santiago Canyon would score their first point.
The score remained relatively close in the first half with the largest lead being 4 points. Until around the five-minute mark when the Hornets managed to put some space in between themselves and the Hawks. This delivered the largest lead of the game, 43-29 Hornets, at the end of the half.
Forward Ronnie Stapp, who contributed to the Hornets’ lead, scored more than any other player in the first half.
Santiago Canyon slowly closed the gap against Fullerton, down by only two points at the 7:46 mark of the second half. A foul by Newton gave Santiago Canyon a window, allowing three free throws, which brought the game to 61-60 Hawks.
The rest of the game was an intense battle between the two teams with 12 lead changes and 8 ties. Neither team was able to get more than a 3 point lead ahead of the other until the one-minute mark. At that point, fans of both teams were on the edge of their seats cheering for the teams with increasing volume.
The Hornets did not disappoint the rowdy home crowd, holding on to the lead, as Tristan Williams, a forward, took a jump shot with less than 3 minutes left.
“We’ve been in a lot of close games this year, so they’re comfortable. I’m so proud of my guys,” said Perry Webster, head coach.
Through a series of free throws by guard Javon Jones, the Hornets kept the game close with a final score of 83-76 Hornets.
Top-scorer Williams scored 17 of the Hornets’ total points. Stapp added 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Forward Gaven Ramirez and Newton each chipped in with 10 points.
“Tristan is one of the most underrated players I’ve ever coached. He does everything on the floor well. He’s so good at making shots, especially late in the game,” Webster said.
A big one for the Hornets, this win puts them in the driver’s seat to compete for the 2022 Orange Empire Conference for men’s basketball.
The Hornets (19-1 overall, 9-0 OEC) will play their next game against the Pirates, at Orange Coast College (4-15 overall, 0-9 OEC) this Friday 5 p.m.