By Sean Singer
In a game they desperately needed to keep their title hope alive, City College (22-7) outplayed division rival Ohlone (19-8), winning 77-59 Wednesday night, Feb 4. The Rams secured a tie for first place in the Coast Conference.
“[If] we lose this game, it’s over,” said Head Coach Justin Labagh. “The destiny has always been in our hands, we just needed to beat Ohlone to get to first place.”
Andrew Davenport’s performance in the game was excellent. He was running the point, picking up nine assists, and keeping the Rams in rhythm throughout the game. Jeffrey Thomas and Da’Ron Sims led all scorers and finished with 18 and 16 a piece, while three other Rams finished with 13 in the win. All five Rams starters scored in double digits.
With the Rams falling into an 8-0 hole, the game got off to a sloppy start, as both teams combined for 10 turnovers in the opening five minutes. After a timeout, the Rams were able to settle in, storming back to take a 10-point lead into the locker room, 30-20.
The Rams never relinquished their lead, and the second half was dominated by City College, as the team maintained their focus and controlled the tempo. In a futile attempt to cut into the wide lead the Renegades began to foul early and often. However, Ohlone’s plan backfired as Jeffrey Thomas and Calvin Douglas combined for 12 points from the line late in the second half.
In a game without several key players City College had lost to Ohlone by 16 points earlier in the season.
“We got away from the game plan the first time [we played Ohlone],” Labagh said. “We didn’t have Da’Ron, Jeff only played two minutes, and Calvin sprained his groin during warm-ups … so we just didn’t have the full squad that night.”
Labagh was also pleased with his team’s execution during the game.
“The game is not won at 7 o’clock,” said Labagh. “We had three great practices. These guys didn’t change anything from how we practiced.”
The win could propel the Rams into a top seed in the state tournament, with at least one game at the Ocean campus Wellness Center, a place where the team feels extremely comfortable.
“We just can’t lose here,” said Forward Greer Wright. “We can beat anybody at home.”
The Rams are optimistic about their chances heading into the last three regular season games.
Just this past Friday, Feb. 6 the Rams took care of buisness against Skyline college 80-66.
The team’s biggest remaining test will be a grudge match against league rival Los Positas (20-6), who beat the Rams by 12 points on Jan. 21.
As Jeffrey Thomas illustrated after the game, City College will be hungry for payback against the Hawks. They get a shot this Friday Feb. 13 here at the Wellness Center at 7 pm.
“When teams beat us by a lot of points, we just come back and beat them by more,” Thomas said.