Fresno City starts fast, withstands Chaffey challenge to punch ticket to CCCAA Semifinals, 68-56

(2N) Fresno City 68, (3S) Chaffey 56
CCCAA Men's Basketball (quarterfinals)
Ventura College ? March 14
Photo by Mike Baker
(2N) Fresno City 68, (3S) Chaffey 56 CCCAA Men's Basketball (quarterfinals) Ventura College ? March 14 Photo by Mike Baker

CCCAA Basketball Championship Tournament Central
(live video, live stats, recaps, photos)

VENTURA –  The Fresno City College Rams waltzed into Ventura College's Athletic Event Center and left with a berth in the 2019 CCCAA Men's Basketball Championship semifinals, defeating the Chaffey College Panthers 68-56 and posting their 26th win in a row, dating all the way back to last November.

The second CCCAA State Quarterfinal game was a ping pong match for the first seven minutes, with the teams tied at 7, 9, and 12 points before Fresno City opened up their lead, going on a 15-3 run and ending the first half with a 33-20 lead.  Ethan Richardson led both teams in scoring in the opening frame, netting 12 points for the Rams, who then led by double digits for most of the second half.

Richardson went on to post a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Georgie Dancer dropped 10 points and led his team in assists with five, and reserve players Jared Small and Eljay Gallegos posted 13 and 10 points, respectively.  Fresno's frequent full-scale substitutions tired out the Chaffey side, and the Rams bench outscored the Panthers' 23-12. 

Isaiah McCullough, Anthony Garcia and Aaron Johnson each notched double digit point totals for the Panthers, while Manu Oulai had a game-high 14 rebounds and a team high five assists.  The Panthers didn't waste their 12 offensive rebounds, turning them into 23 second chance points.  But after averaging 84.1 points per game, Chaffey was ultimately held to its lowest-scoring effort in all of 2018-19.

The Rams move on to face the winner of the Fullerton-Santa Rosa matfchup, scheduled for later Thursday.

(Brian Mellblom, CCCSIA contributor)