SRJC men fall to San Francisco 88-54 in regional semifinal

By PETER FOURNIER
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

SAN FRANCISCO — The Santa Rosa Junior College men’s basketball team looked like it would go toe-to-toe with 2011 state champion City College of San Francisco early on in the semifinals of the Northern California Regional Championship.

Anything after ‘early’ Saturday night was a moot point, as the Bear Cubs’ season came to a close at the hands of the Rams in an 88-54 shellacking. The CCSF victory moved the San Francisco junior college to a 31-0 record and an appearance in the state Final Four.

“I’d say when you’re playing a team that’s that talented, they’re capable of making a big run against us,” SRJC coach Craig McMillan said.

The Bear Cubs drew to within two points of the Rams in the first half, thanks to hot 3-point shooting by Bobby Sharp and Alec Kobre, who each finished with three baskets from beyond the arc before halftime. That slim deficit was halfway through the first half. Sharp finished with 20 points and Kobre 11.

“We did make some shots,” McMillan said. “I thought Bobby and Alec made some good shots.”

The shots, unfortunately, stopped falling for the last 10 minutes of the half. Fast-forwarding to the final seconds before the halftime buzzer, Delon Wright, brother of Philadelphia 76ers player Dorell Wright, heaved up a prayer from near midcourt that dropped in. It finished a 27-6 run for CCSF, and gave Wright 20 points heading into the locker room.

“We kind of didn’t execute very well for a stretch there,” McMillan said. “We missed some shots and free throws but a lot of our execution was a direct result of their pressure defense and their hustle and their athleticism.”

The Rams’ full-court pressure defense picked apart what McMillan had game-planned for the evening. He knew beforehand that the Bear Cubs were an athletic mismatch against CCSF — which stretched their lead to 40 points at one time in the second half — but hoped that execution would help even out the size and speed difference.

McMillan said the constant turnovers ultimately did them in.

“They took us out of everything we wanted to do there midway through the first half so the game was pretty much decided,” he said.

Wright, who is bound for the University of Utah after this season, was playing his final junior college home game.

“I knew it was going to be a big game so I wanted to prepare myself and just try to play my best and help my team win,” he said.

McMillan knew stopping Wright would be a tough challenge.

“If we could not give up the transition maybe we can make it more difficult for him to score,” the Bear Cubs coach said. “He’s too good a player. If he’s making the shots he’s making tonight were not going to be able to stop him.”

The one standout highlight for the Bear Cubs came in dead time, when Xavier McCall grabbed a steal and threw down a windmill slam dunk.

SRJC topped Chabot 86-76 in the second round and Cabrillo in the third round 65-44 before falling to CCSF.

Get more coverage of Santa Rosa Junior College athletics at pressdemocrat.com.

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