MODESTO, Calif.- A pair of sophomores for the Cosumnes River men's basketball team led the Hawks to the 5th place game at the 76th MJC Tournament, following their 82-70 defeat of Mendocino in the 5th place semifinal. Sophomore guard AJ Bridges and sophomore post Jaycob Velasco both posted double-doubles in the victory. CRC advances to take on Cuesta today at 3 PM in the 5th place game of the 16-team, double-elimination tournament.
Following a pair of down performances to open the tournament, Bridges began to look like the player who was leading the Big 8 conference in scoring entering the tournament. In addition to opening things up offensively by scoring, Bridges proved himself to be a capable facilitator of the offense, dishing out five assists in the first half to pair with five points. Velasco went 5-5 in the first half from the field, including knocking down his lone three-point attempt, leading the Hawks at the break with 11 points and six rebounds. CRC took a 33-26 advantage into the intermission, but Mendocino wasn't about to concede the victory.
The Eagles knocked down eight of their 14 three-point field goals in the second half, keeping the game in deficit in single digits for much of the first half, as CRC was unable to put Mendocino away. Eagles post Chris Ketter scored a team-high 18 points, including four three-pointers, as Mendocino cut CRC's lead to as little as four points with five minutes to play. However the Hawks proved to be too much for Mendocino late, as freshman guard Joe Barnes helped to seal the victory with 12 of his 16 points in the second half, as CRC defeated Mendocino 82-70 to advance to the 5th place game this afternoon.
Bridges tied a game-high with 18 points to go with his 12 assists on the afternoon, and grabbed three steals for the Hawks. Velasco posted his third-straight double-double, and his fifth of the season, scoring 15 points while collecting 10 rebounds in the contest. Freshman guard Barnes and sophomore post TJ Williams also scored in double-digits, with 16 points and 14 points respectively. Freshman guard Andrew Johnson had one of his best outings of the season, scoring four points while dishing six assists in 18 minutes of action.
The Hawks (7-2) advance to take on the Cuesta Cougars this afternoon in the 5th place game at the 76th MJC Tournament. Cuesta (6-4) advances to the game following their 84-72 victory over Columbia yesterday. The Cougars opened the tournament with an 89-86 victory over Siskiyous, before falling to Fresno City 61-52 in the second round of the tournament. The sharpshooting Cougars are led by sophomore guard Oscar Pedroso, a native of Portugal. Pedroso is averaging 17 points per contest thus far for Cuesta. He is joined by four freshmen in the team's starting lineup, who have all made an immediate impact on Cuesta early this season. Freshman post Brett Hartshorne, a native of Belgium, is averaging 14 points and just under six rebounds per contest this season. Fellow post Kyle Geer, a freshman out of Connecticut, leads Cuesta in rebounding with eight per contest. He's also averaging 12 points per game thus far this season. Guard Alex Igual out of Spain, joins Pedroso on the wing, while Austrian guard Valentin Bauer leads the team at point. In all, Cuesta features 11 international players on their roster, giving them a distinctively different look than most CCCAA teams. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 PM.