HAYWARD, Calif.- The Cosumnes River men's basketball team improved to 11-3 on the season, defeating Lassen 81-72 in the opening game of the 47th Annual Chabot College Holiday Classic.  The Hawks return to action today when they meet Las Positas at 1 PM in the tournament's second day of competition.

The beginning of last night's contest resembled the last meeting of the two teams, when Lassen jumped out to a double-digit lead in the Lassen College Classic before taking the game 95-85.  Cosumnes River lacked life early once again, losing the rebounding battle and turning the ball over at an alarming rate, as Lassen led by double digits for most of the first half.  The Hawks started the game ice cold, shooting a disappointing 38% from the field in the first half, as Lassen entered the half with a 39-32 lead.

Things weren't going much better for the Hawks to begin the second half either, as Lassen jumped out to an early 15 point lead three minutes into the half.  Head Coach James Giacomazzi had seen enough and called a timeout at 17:51, opting to substitute in his five freshmen for the five sophomores on the floor.  The wholesale substitution worked, as the Hawks quickly responded by cutting the deficit back to single digits, following three three-point field goals by freshman forward Semir Cahtarevic.  Cahtarevic scored all 14 of his points in the second half, as CRC took control of the contest for the remainder of the game.  Sophomore guards AJ Bridges (pictured right) and Rodney Cook combined for 17 points down the stretch in the second half, as CRC rallied back to take the lead with three minutes to play at 74-72.  The Hawks would hold Lassen scoreless for the rest of the contest, as CRC defeated Lassen 81-72 for their 11th victory of the season.  Lassen's record falls to 12-8 on the year with the loss.  Bridges led the Hawks offensively on the night with a game-high 18 points, while also contributing four rebounds and dishing six assists.  Sophomore forward Jaycob Velasco contributed 16 points and six rebounds in the victory.  Cahtarevic scored 14 points on five of six shooting on the night off the bench, while Cook also scored in double-digits with 11 points. 

CRC will take on a Las Positas (7-5) team coming off a victory over Big 8 conference opponent Sierra in their opening game of the Chabot Holiday Classic.  The LPC Hawks opened the game against Sierra with a slow start, falling behind the Wolverines early in the contest.  They managed to control tempo for the duration of the game however, chipping away at Sierra's early double-digit lead before taking their own lead early in the second half.  A free throw by guard Davis Kimble in the closing seconds put the game away for good, as Las Positas defeated Sierra 64-63.  Kimble led all Hawks in scoring with 22 points on the day, with 15 of those coming in the second half.  Guard Steve Cazares also scored in double-digits for Las Positas, scoring 17 points on the day, including a pair of three-point field goals.  Sophomore guard Jacob Contreras also scored in double-figures for Las Positas with 10 points.

Cosumnes River will close out the event tomorrow at 5 PM with a game against host Chabot College (11-3), in the third meeting of the year between the two teams.  Chabot defeated Simpson JV last night to open the tournament, and will take on Sierra (5-7) tonight.