SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Cosumnes River men's basketball team wrapped up the 35th Annual James Clark Classic this past weekend, with an 81-74 victory over the previously unbeaten Chabot Gladiators in the championship game. It's the Hawks second straight James Clark Classic tournament championship.
CRC earned their third win in three consecutive days, and the team's fifth straight this season, with the victory over Chabot in the championship game. The contest was tight from the opening tip, as Chabot took a 12-10 advantage after five minutes on a Matt Simpkins basket. The Gladiators extended the lead to four when Leo Smith hit a top of the key three-pointer at the ten-minute mark in the first half, before CRC sophomore AJ Bridges began to get hot. Bridges hit his second three-pointer of the day, and fellow sophomore Rodney Cook hit two straight layups to tie the game at 26 with five minutes to play in the first half. Cook was fouled on his second shot, hitting the free throw for a three-point play, giving the Hawks a 27-26 lead. Bridges would then score eight of the Hawks next ten points to close out the second half, as CRC entered the break with a 37-33 advantage at halftime.
Cosumnes River would not trail the rest of the way, as sophomore post Jaycob Velasco began to heat up in the second half, scoring 12 of his 20 points in the second half to help lead the Hawks to the 81-74 victory for the Clark Classic championship. Bridges led all scorers with 28 points on 10-14 shooting, including 3-4 from the perimeter. He also went 5-6 from the charity stripe, and dished out six assists in the win. Velasco was second on the team in scoring with 20 points on the day, while also grabbing seven rebounds to lead all Hawks. Cook put together one of his best all-around performances of the year on the tournament's final day, scoring seven points while grabbing five rebounds, and dishing out six assists on the afternoon. Freshman guard Leo Smith led all Gladiators scorers with 17 points off the bench.
Bridges earned Clark Classic Most Valuable Player honors following a weekend where he averaged 21 points per game in leading the team to three straight victories. Bridges also averaged nearly four rebounds and six assists per contest, as the team won its fifth straight contest to begin the year. Sophomores Velasco and Cook were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Tournament Champions: Cosumnes River
Tournament Runner-up: Chabot
Third-Place: Napa Valley
Consolation: Feather River
Tournament MVP: AJ Bridges
Maurice Johnson F Feather River
Jaycob Velasco F Cosumnes River
D'monte Britt G Napa Valley
Greg Brown G Chabot
Rodney Cook G Cosumnes River
The Hawks are now 5-1 to begin the season. The team will be idle until they take part in the 76th Annual MJC Basketball Tournament during the first week of December. They'll open the 16-team, double-elimination tournament on December 3rd against Reedley College. That game is scheduled for 8 PM at Modesto Junior College. The Hawks will then take part in two more tournaments to close out the 2013 year. They'll open up with Big 8 conference play in January. The team's next home game will take place on Friday, January 10th against crosstown rival American River.