Sequoias moves into CCCAA Men's Basketball Semifinals with 69-62 win over Wolverines

College of the Sequoias advanced to the CCCAA Men's Basketball Semifinals with a win over San Bernardino Valley on Friday night. (David Sanborn)
College of the Sequoias advanced to the CCCAA Men's Basketball Semifinals with a win over San Bernardino Valley on Friday night. (David Sanborn)

LEMOORE — In a game packed with a lot of action, but little points in the first half, Sequoias outlasted San Bernardino Valley, 69-62, in a CCCAA Men's Basketball Championship quarterfinal game at West Hills College in Lemoore.

With the victory, Sequoias advances to the semifinals on Friday, March 12. The Giants will take on San Francisco City at 7 pm and West Valley squaring off against West LA at 5 pm. In their only meeting this season, Sequoias lost to San Francisco City, 80-66, on December 4. West Valley and West LA haven't met this season.

Playing before a crowd favoring College of the Sequoias, located 30 miles from West Hills Lemoore, the two teams battled to a 25-21 halftime score. Sequoias, the north's No. 3 seed, used a 12-8 run over the final 9:20 of the first half to ink out four-point halftime lead.

San Bernardino Valley played without Dominique Daniels; one of three players selected as the state player of year. Daniels, who averaged 22 points a game, was injured in the Wolverines first round win over Cypress. His absence was especially felt on the offensive end of the floor.

Neither team shot the ball well in the first half.  San Bernardino Valley scored just 14 points from the floor. The Wolverines were 6 of 19 from the floor and 2 of 11 from the three-point line. But being 7 of 9 from the free throw line kept San Bernardino Valley, the south's No. 2 seed, in the game.  Likewise, Sequoias struggled offensively, shooting 35 percent from the floor (9 of 26). The Giants made 4 of 13 three-pointers (31 percent) and 3 of 7 free throws (43 percent). The teams combined for 19 turnovers, but just for steals in the first half.

Things didn't pick up in the second half. With six minutes gone the teams had managed to score  22 combined points (11 apiece). Sequoias managed to open a 34-27 with 15:50 remaining. San Bernardino Valley however answered, cutting the lead to four at 36-32 with 14:15 remaining.

Behind a strong defensive effort, Sequoias managed to open its largest lead with 12 minutes remaining as Ryan Johnson hit a three-pointer, giving the Giants a 44-36 lead. And it grew from there as Sequoias built a 12-point advantage with 10 minutes remaining.

With 7:58 remaining, the Wolverines' Chester Makoi dunked, cutting the Giants' lead to seven, 52-45. But on the play Makoi was called for a technical foul, giving the Giants two free throws, which they converted for a 9-point lead at 54-45. San Bernardino Valley managed to get within four at 59-55 with 3:15 remaining, but the Giants answered with a 5-0 run to go back up by nine points. And maintained the lead the remainder of the contest.

Sequoias was led by Johnson who had 30 points, 15 from the three-point line. Teammate Conner Jackson added 12 and Seth Dawson added 10. San Bernardino Valley was led by Armon Muldrew with 24 points. Makoi added 15.

(Robert Schmidt, CCCMBCA)