By Taylor Clayton
The City College men’s basketball team’s plan to make back-to-back trips to the state championships ended abruptly as No. 8 seeded Cabrillo stunned the No. 1 seeded Rams with a 70-76 win in overtime on Feb. 29 at the Wellness Center.
Head coach Justin Labagh did not point to one specific reason why his team did not come out on top.
“I didn’t think we were scrappy enough in that game,” Labagh said. “I thought these guys did their best. It wasn’t good enough tonight but they played hard. The other team just played harder than us. That’s what it came down to.”
The game was decided in the final three minutes of regulation play.
Sophomore Myron Respress hit two free throws, and sophomore Ivan Dorsey connected on 3-pointer to bring his team to within a point. With 2:23 left in the game, sophomore Raysean Hariston hit one of two free throws to tie the game at 59.
Dorsey finished the game with 22 points on 8-19 shooting. Dorsey’s number of shots was a result of the Rams inability to get the ball inside.
“They did a great job of containing our bigs inside. I’ve lost three games with (Dorsey) up until that time and won about 60,” Labagh said. “I figure put the ball in that guy’s hands, he’s come through for us in the past.
With 41 seconds left, and in possession of the ball, City College scored on an alley-oop play off of an inbounds pass under the basket to take the lead, but ran no time off of the clock. Cabrillo sophomore Thomas Pierce grabbed an offensive rebound and converted on a three-point play to give the Seahawks a one-point lead.
With one second left and the Rams down by one point, starting guard Thomas Cooper stood at the foul line with a chance to send his team to the next round of playoffs. Cooper missed the first free throw, then hit the second, sending the game into overtime.
The Rams had an early four point lead in overtime but turnovers enabled the Seahawks to go on a 13-3 run, ending the game and the season for the Rams.
Sophomore Delon Wright was frustrated by the loss, but said that it was not the end of the world for him and his teammates.
“(Coach) just told us we gave it our all,” Wright said. “Most of our sophomores will be going on to different places and don’t act like this is the end of our life.”
Respress, who won a state championship with last year’s team, fouled out in overtime and was forced to watch the final moments from the bench.
“The game came down to free throws,” he said. “I thought we were ready. We were ready, but as soon as the clock started, calls started going their way, balls started going their way.”
The loss was only the second loss suffered by the Rams since the beginning of their season in November 2011. The team will have all summer to contemplate what went wrong.