SRJC basketball: Bear Cubs continue pursuit of CCCAA title with doubleheader

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

After big-time scares in opening-round games, the Santa Rosa JC men’s and women’s teams resume their quests for CCCAA State Tournament titles tonight in a doubleheader at Haehl Pavilion.

The women will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. against No. 11 Diablo Valley with the men battling No. 6 Ohlone at 7:30 p.m.

Both Bear Cubs teams are seeded No. 3 in the Northern California Regional and each needs two wins to reach the state championships which will be held March 14-16 in Norwalk.

In opening round home games last weekend, the local teams fell behind early and trailed at halftime. The women, playing De Anza, went to the locker room saddled with a 32-21 deficit while the men were down, 33-24, at the hands of Merritt. The men needed overtime before coming out on top (86-76) while the women rallied to defeat De Anza, 60-52.

“I’d by lying if I told you I wasn’t concerned going to the locker room at halftime,” men’s coach Craig McMillan said.

“We weren’t shooting well and our defense was letting Merritt penetrate to the basket.

“I think we were a little tight, it being our first game of the tournament.”

After McMillan’s halftime chat, the Bear Cubs tightened up the defense and got into an offensive groove. It was 65-65 at the end of regulation and Santa Rosa scored 21 in the five-minute extra period.

Ohlone’s defense has caused McMillan some concern.

“They play a zone and we haven’t faced a team that primarily plays zone,” he said. “Everybody we’ve played starts out man-to man.

“It will be interesting to see how our offense responds. We’ve worked against a zone in practice and did fine.”

The Bear Cubs, champs of the Big 8, are 20-8 and bring a nine-game winning streak into the game. Ohlone, runner-up in the Coast-North, is 23-6

The women know each other well. Both are in the Big 8 and have played each other twice. The Bear Cubs won in Pleasant Hill (94-87) and the Vikings prevailed at Haehl (65-64).

“We didn’t play one of our better games when they beat us,” coach Lacey Campbell said. “Also, it was a very physical game. I thought the officials let it get out of hand.”

The Bear Cubs’ Gretchen Harrigan, the state’s leading scorer with a 25.1 average, was held to 11 points.

“Their defense was very aggressive. They played a box and one,” Campbell said. “ This game will come down to our offense against their defense.”

Both teams are 20-10. Diablo Valley tied for fourth in conference while Santa Rosa finished second.

 

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