It was a dogfight from start to finish, but the San Diego City College Knights kept the Fullerton College Hornets from their fourth state title on Sunday afternoon falling 53-51 on a last second layup in the 2017 CCCAA State Finals held at Las Positas College.
It was a showdown in the north featuring two teams from the south in #1 Fullerton College (Orange Empire Conference Champs) and #2 San Diego City College (Pacific Coast South Conference Champs), and both teams did not pull any punches as they were strictly business for this one.
The Knights scored early and often taking an 11-2 lead at the 15:44 mark. The Hornets fought their way back into the game after two awe-inspiring power dunks by Kendall Lauderdale. With just over three minutes left in the half, FC climbed back in it taking their first lead (26-25) on an And-One layin by Johnathon Ross. By the time both teams hit the lockers, San Diego City help only a one point edge at 29-28. It was the first time in the tournament that FC trailed at the half.
It was an ugly low-scoring first half as FC shot a mere 31% from the floor. The Knights shot a little bit better at 37%. Fullerton's MVP Ian Fox was 0-7 from the field, but Kendall Lauderdale picked up the slack leading all scorers with 11 points.
The second half was a back and forth affair (9 ties and 4 lead changes) with both teams trying to get a leg up on the other.
Both sides were getting antsy as whispers of overtime began travel through the stands. With the scored tied at 51 apiece, and 4 seconds left in regulation, the Knights had gotten the ball on a traveling turnover called by the referee that was clearly a loose ball pass. Pacific Coast South Conference MVP Darien McClain drove the ball down the middle of the key making a scoop-like layup as the final second ticked off the clock. San Diego City College wins.
On a side note, FC had played San Diego City in the beginning of the season back on November 6th and beat them on the road 76-65 to win the Knight's Invitational Tournament.
ALL-STATE TOURNAMENT TEAM
MVP – Darien McClain, San Diego City College
Ian Fox, Fullerton College
Kendall Lauderdale, Fullerton College
FULLERTON COLLEGE MEN'S BASKETBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
1953 – State Runner-up (20-10) - L, 80-78 to Sequoias at Long Beach City College - Head Coach Alex Omalev
1954 - State Champions (31-2) - W, 67-57 over Grant Tech/American River College at Sacramento - Head Coach Alex Omalev
1960 - State Runner-up (27-5) - L, 77-67 to San Jose City (27-7) at San Jose City - Head Coach Alex Omalev
1961 - State Champions (33-2) - W, 94-85 over San Jose City at Santa Maria High School - Head Coach Bill Mann
2006 - State Champions (37-0) - W, 81-67 over West Valley (33-4) at Selland Arena, Fresno, CA - Head Coach Dieter Horton
2008 - State Runner-up (28-6) - L, 72-67 to Citrus College (35-1) at Spanos, UOP - Head Coach Allen Caveness
2017 - State Runner-up (26-7) - L, 53-51 to San Diego City (30-6) at Las Positas - Head Coach Perry Webster
*Photos by Jim McCormack