Fullerton Hornets swarm Fresno City Rams, advance to CCCAA Championship game against San Francisco

(1S) Fullerton 71, (4N) Santa Rosa 68
CCCAA Men's Basketball Championship (quarterfinals)
Ventura College ? March 14
Photo by Mike Baker
(1S) Fullerton 71, (4N) Santa Rosa 68 CCCAA Men's Basketball Championship (quarterfinals) Ventura College ? March 14 Photo by Mike Baker

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

VENTURA - The CCCAA Men's Basketball State Championship game is now set after the Fullerton College Hornets shut down Fresno City College, 58-49, in their Saturday semifinal matchup. Fullerton, winner of the 20-17 state banner will take on defending champion City College of San Francisco (31-1) at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast live here.

Fullerton dominated early the first half, holding Fresno City scoreless for the first six minutes and racking up a 19-2 lead by the 9:36 mark.  Fresno gave up five turnovers and missed their first four shots of the game before finally getting on the board with a Georgie Dancer layup in the sixth minute of play.  Meanwhile, Fullerton casually ran up their score with a balanced offensive effort, with baskets from six different Hornet players and punishing Fresno for their nine first half turnovers.  At halftime, the Rams trailed by 12 and were shooting just 23.8% from the field.

Fresno City didn't panic in the second half, preventing Fullerton from extending its halftime lead and answering for each of the Hornets' baskets, eventually whittling the deficit to six points on an emphatic slam dunk by Ethan Richardson just over the midway part of the half.  The Hornets kicked it back into high gear, responding with seven points of their own, aided by a Lance Coleman II steal, and forcing a shot clock violation on the Rams' next possession.  By then, the Hornets led by 16 inside seven minutes to play.

Fullerton then parked the bus in their front court, Jailen Moore holding the ball and attempting a couple low-pressure three pointers, his teammates scooping up offensive rebounds to keep the game clock ticking down.  Fresno would finally cut its deficit back to single digits with a Georgie Dancer three-pointer from the left corner, making it a 54-46 game with 90 seconds remaining.  Eljay Gallegos hit another three with 40 ticks left, bringing the Rams to within five. They had resort to fouling to stop the clock but simply ran out of time to stage a big enough comeback.

Two Hornets posted double digit points: Lance Coleman with 15, adding a game-high 8 rebounds, and Ronne Readus with 10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and a block. Ethan Richardson led the Rams on their half of the scoresheet with 11 points and 7 rebounds, while Georgie Dancer netted 9 points and 5 assists in Fresno's effort.

(Brian Mellblom, CCCSIA)