SRJC men’s basketball: Drewry lifts Bear Cubs over Chaffey 49-47

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Kai Drewry’s uncontested lay-up with 3.5 seconds left on the clock was the game-winner as Santa Rosa JC defeated Chaffey College, 49-47, Saturday night to advance to the final game of the CCCAA Men’s Basketball State Championship.

The Bear Cubs will be seeking their first state title at 3:30 p.m. today against San Bernardino Valley. The Wolverines won 78-68 in Saturday’s other semifinal.

Cerritos College in Norwalk is hosting the final four.

Following Drewry’s basket, Chaffey’s John Gilliam threw a long pass to Adom Jacko. The 6-foot-8 forward caught the ball in front of his bench, but lost his balance and fell to the floor as the horn sounded.

The 3-point shot was one of Santa Rosa’s strong points during the regular season, and it was again Saturday. The Bear Cubs drained eight treys in the first half and went to the locker room with a 26-16 lead. The only other basket they made was a lay-up by Matthew Hayes.

At the start, it looked like taller Chaffey was going to win easily. The Panthers led 11-3 and outrebounded Santa Rosa 12-6 in the opening 10 minutes.

Alec Kobre, a Montgomery alum, snapped an eight-minute Santa Rosa scoring drought with a trey to make it 11-6. That started a 12-0 run. In succession, Kobre, Drewry and Davone Oliver followed with long-distance scores.

After taking the lead, 12-11, the Bear Cubs wouldn’t trail again. Chaffey went nearly 10 minutes without scoring as the Bear Cubs played tenacious defense.

Early in the second half, Santa Rosa began missing 3s and got out of its offensive flow on several possessions. Meanwhile, the Panthers began utilizing their height advantage and scored several baskets in the paint.

Chaffey pulled even at 35-35 with 10 minutes to go and from that point, the Bear Cubs never led by more than four.

It was 45-45 with 1:20 remaining when Drewry hit a 10-foot bank shot. Julian Nichols quickly got the Panthers even at 47-47 with a put-back basket with 38 seconds on the clock.

SRJC coach Craig McMillan elected not to call time out and Drewry dribbled the ball down the floor, stopping near mid-court. Chaffey didn’t challenge the ball and both sides stood still until the 10-second mark.

As he got to the free throw line, Drewry shifted into another gear and split two defenders. When weakside help didn’t slide over, the sophomore from Larkspur found himself at the basket with no one within five feet.

He calmly banked in the lay-up, keeping alive Santa Rosa’s dream.

Hayes led the Bear Cubs in scoring with 20. Kobre had 11, one more than Drewry.

Santa Rosa, the top seed out of Northern California, has won 12 straight and is 23-8 overall.

This will be the second meeting of the season between the Bear Cubs and San Bernardino. Last Dec. 10 in the Riverside Tournament, the Wolverines came out on top, 64-48.

“It was a one-point game at halftime,” McMillan said. “We’re a much better team now than we were then. “We feel good about our chances.”

 

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