Led by sophomore point guard Jason Richardson’s 24 points, Hornet basketball defeated Santiago Canyon College 89-83 at home to finish off their Orange Empire Conference season.
The Hornets bounced back from their overtime road loss against Orange Coast College and finish their season with a win as they head into the CCCAA playoffs.
“We’re really lucky we have Jason Richardson. He makes a lot of big plays for us and he was the difference tonight,” said head coach Perry Webster on his team’s victory.
Fullerton’s start in the ball game saw them get out to an 11-0 lead within the first few minutes. They were able to dominate in rebounds, both offensively and defensively, and force SCC to miss shots.
But after finally being able to get on the scoreboard, the Hawks’ offense got rolling, and in doing so, forced Fullerton to play out of their element. Santiago Canyon’s seven first half 3-pointers erased Fullerton’ lead and sent the Hawks into halftime ahead 41-39.
“… we got out of [character] and started shooting a lot of threes,” Richardson said. “That’s just not how we play.”
After halftime, the Hawks looked to build their lead. As they continued to score, the Hornets kept pace with them and only let them go up by 6 points.
The Hornets eventually worked their way back into the lead of the game after making nearly 61% of their field goals and forcing SCC to go 3 for 20 in 3-point attempts for the rest of the game.
“We all work hard… we just build off of it, stay strong and stay focused,” said freshman center Ronnie Readus.
After taking a 64-63 lead with 6:40 remaining in the game, Fullerton held their ground to earn their last regular season with of the year.
“The tough loss on Friday only gave us the fire to win this game. We just had to bounce back and we just kept our poise in this game,” Readus added.
The Hornets must now wait and see where they will be seeded in the CCCAA playoff bracket, yet mixed feelings of dissatisfaction and optimism gives the Hornets much to work on ahead of the postseason.
“We’ve got to play better. We’re making silly mistakes; guys are in their own heads,” Webster added.
Despite their path to the state championship being unknown, Fullerton looks to run the table to be crowned this year’s state champions.
“Playoffs baby,” Richardson said, “Its time to make this run. We’re going to do it.”