By John Czimbal, Sports Information Association
NORWALK – Kai Drewry made a nearly impossible layup with 25 seconds remaining to lift the Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) Bear Cubs to a stunning 73-67 win over the San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) Wolverines in the championship game of the 2014 CCCAA Men's Basketball State Championship at Cerritos College.
Santa Rosa JC (24-8), the No. 1 seed from Northern California, atoned for an earlier 64-48 loss to SBVC in the opening round of the Riverside Holiday Tournament (Dec. 11, 2013). It was the Bear Cubs' first appearance in the state final.
What started as a pedestrian game with both teams playing tentatively, progressed to a very entertaining finish as the Bear Cubs went on a modest 10-1 run midway through the second half and assume control – for the most part – down the stretch. SRJC trailed, 46-44, with 12:43 left. Nearly four minutes later, the Bear Cubs led, 54-47, with 8:53 remaining.
But in the game's waning moments, SBVC's sensational sophomore guard Gerry Blakes (Inglewood / Morningside HS) – who has committed to Arizona State next fall – recorded a steal and a layin with 1:08 left and then tied the game at 67-67 with a layin with 52 seconds remaining.
Then Drewry put up a shot that bounced off the iron and ricocheted off of someone's head and back into the hoop with 25 seconds to play to give SRJC a 69-67 lead. After a missed jumper by Blakes, the Bear Cubs converted two pair of free throws (at :11 and :02) to clinch the victory.
In the second half, SRJC converted six of 11 three-pointers, while SBVC was zero for four.
San Bernardino Valley (29-8), the No. 1 seed from Southern California, was making its second state championship final appearance. In 2005, the Wolverines lost, 83-68, to state champion Fresno City College. With the win, a Northern California team has claimed the state championship in three of the last four years (2012: Fresno City; 2011: City College of San Francisco).
At halftime, SBVC led, 32-29, as Blakes had 11 of his game-high 23 points. Teammate Keith Smith (Compton, / Centennial HS) finished with 21 points for the Wolverines.
SRJC sophomore guard Alex Kobre (Santa Rosa / Montgomery HS), who was accorded tournament MVP honors, led the Bear Cubs with 17 points, Drewry was next with 16 and freshman guard Davone Oliver (Oakland / Castlemont HS) was next with 14.
2014 CCCAA Men's Basketball Championships all-tournament Team:
Santa Rosa: Alex Kobre (MVP), Matthew Hayes;
San Bernardino Valley: Keith Smith, Gerry Blakes;
Chaffey: Adom Jacko; Chabot: Cortez Barrett.