By Jackson Ly/The Guardsman
In a California Community College Athletic Association North Regional playoff match March 1 that determined who would face No. 4 Sierra College in the semifinals, the No. 5 Rams defeated No. 12 Contra Costa Comets, 98-80.
The bleachers at City College’s Brad Duggan Court shook as Rams fans stomped and erupted in cheer after seeing their home team make two repeated steals that earned the Rams a 14-point lead in the first half.
Rams sophomore guard Franeka Hall stole the ball from a Comets player and passed it to an open Tatsiana Dashkevich for a crowd-pleasing layup that put the Rams up 29-15.
Sophomore Dashkevich was the Rams’ second leading scorer with 21 points and two assists.
The Rams struggled with 26 team fouls in the first half.
Comets sophomore Jewel Rogers, an above-average free throw shooter, was frequently sent to the line.
A 73 percent free throw shooter throughout the regular season, Rogers gave the Comets momentum by shooting 12 of 16 from the free-throw line.
Though Rogers scored a game high 28 points, the Comets could not find a way to stop the Rams’ offense, which included 24 points from three-point shots alone in the first half.
Despite the Rams foul trouble, they went into halftime with a 54-43 lead.
“That’s a lot of points they’re (the Rams) scoring in the half,” Brad Duggan, City College’s renowned former men’s basketball head coach, said. “Their perimeter shooting is real good.”
During the first five minutes of the second half, Rams sophomore guard Raquel Torres showed her sharpshooting abilities by knocking down two consecutive three-pointers. She was the team’s leading scorer with 24 points and four assists.
“The turning point was when we used the clock to our advantage,” Torres said. “It felt like we had more control in the game.”
Rams freshman guard Mariah Masoli ran the clock down by dazing a Comets defender with three crossover dribbles and then threw a no-look pass to an open player for an easy two points, putting the Rams up 73-52.
Masoli finished with 16 point and three assists.
With 5:57 remaining and the game clock winding down, the Comets tried to come back with some three-point shots of their own, but still trailed by 15 points.
“It was a very physical game,” Comets head coach Paul Debolt said. “They’re a tough team to defend because they have a lot of three-point shooters.”
The Rams will face Sierra College on March 5 at 7 p.m. in Rocklin, Calif.