JC basketball: Bear Cubs men headed to state final four

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Santa Rosa JC men’s team defeated host Fresno City College, 83-72, Saturday night to earn a spot in the CCCAA state tournament final four.

The outcome for the Lady Bear Cubs wasn’t as good. They played the Fresno women earlier in the evening and lost, 60-45.

The state tournament will be held at Cerritos College next weekend, and the Bear Cubs’ first game will be Saturday against Chaffey (28-5). If they win, they’ll play for the state crown on Sunday.

Santa Rosa jumped out an 18-1 lead in the opening 10 minutes against Fresno City.

“We played really good defense and took care of the ball,” SRJC coach Craig McMillan said.

Fresno went to a full-court press after halftime and cut the lead to five before Santa Rosa took control again.

Corey Hammell hit a pair of 3-point shots to quell the Rams’ rally.

The former Cardinal Newman player and All-Empire Player of the Year finished with 14 points and five boards.

Also scoring in double figures for the Bears Cubs were Matthew Hayes (20), Davone Oliver (17) and Alec Kobre (15).

Santa Rosa made 12 of 28 attempts from beyond the arc.

SRJC’s men’s team won its 11th game in a row, and will take a 22-8 record to the state finals. Fresno ends the season with 30 wins and three losses. One of those victories was earlier in the season against the Bear Cubs.

The SRJC women trailed 31-16 at halftime and played the Rams even in the second half.

“We just weren’t able to hit shots we ordinarily make,” coach Lacey Campbell said.

The Bear Cubs shot 17 percent from the field in the first half and made 37 percent of their shots after intermission.

“We dug a hole we couldn’t get out of,” Campbell said. “If we had hit a couple more shots in the first half, it would’ve made all the difference as far as momentum.”

The 45 points was the third-worst offensive performance of the season for the Bear Cubs. On Nov. 21, the first game of the season, they lost 56-40 to Merced and then they were beaten by San Francisco, 69-44, on Dec. 14.

Gretchen Harrigan, the state’s leading scorer averaging 25.3 points per game, led Santa Rosa with 18. In a loss earlier in the season to Fresno, the Casa Grande alum scored 37.

While the offense sputtered, Santa Rosa’s offense was good.

“Fresno averages over 80 points per game,” Campbell said. “We felt it we held them in the 60s,we had a good chance of winning.”

Leading the offense for the Rams was Keyora Wharry with 19. She scored 34 in the first meeting.

The Lady Bear Cubs finish the season 21-11, while Fresno goes to the final four with a 29-3 record.

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