By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Playing one of its best defensive games of the season, the Santa Rosa Junior College men defeated visiting Cabrillo, 65-44, Wednesday night in the third round of the CCCAA State Tournament.
The Bear Cubs are now one win away from going to the Final Four in Sacramento. However, first they must go on the road and defeat No. 1 seed San Francisco on Saturday night.
Against Cabrillo, Santa Rosa opened a double digit lead early in the game and by midway of the second half the margin was 30.
The Seahawks, who came in with a 20-8 record, were held to their second lowest point total of the season.
“We put a lot of pressure on them in the half court,” winning coach Craig McMillan said. “We were able to force them into turnovers and make them take low percentage shots. We were a little quicker than they were.”
All 13 players on the roster played with 10 getting in the scoring column.
Bobby Sharp, who was voted most valuable player in the Big Eight Conference, led the way with 16 points.
“I liked the way we shared the ball,” McMillan said. “Everyone was getting touches and good looks at the basket.”
Cabrillo mixed up its defense, but Santa Rosa executed well and consistently got the shots it wanted.
The score was 32-13 at halftime and the lead grew to 61-31 with eight minutes remaining.
Connor Gillett led the Bear Cubs in rebounds with 12.
A near-sellout crowd watched the game and McMillan said Saturday’s game in San Francisco will be standing-room only.
“Our people need to get there early or they won’t get in,” he said.
The Rams are 30-0. They advanced by beaten Lassen, 101-67, on Wednesday.
Santa Rosa, the No. 4 seed, will take a 27-5 record to San Francisco.