PLEASANT HILL, Calif. - The Hawks start off their BIG 8 conference competition on the right foot by defeating #4 Diablo Valley College 72-64 in overtime, who were the preseason favorites for the BIG 8 championship. CRC improved their season record to 13-4, and face American River College on Friday.
This being the Hawks opening game of conference play and away at DVC, they had a rough start from the opening tip. This was going to be a difficult road game that would test the 12-4 hawks against the #4 ranked DVC whose style of play is the opposite of what CRC uses. DVC, having home court advantage, is more of a controlled, methodical, system-oriented team who works the tempo. They like to slow the game down and minimize possession against opponents, whereas the Hawks are totally opposite in their style of play. CRC is more of a fast-paced and transition-focused team, which made for a good conference match up.
From the opening tip, the first half was showing to be a very tight contest as DVC took a seven point lead to open the game 7-0. But, CRC quickly responded, and it was mostly within one or two possessions the rest of the first half. DVC was lead by Justin Yeargin offensively in the first half of play, as he scored 15 of his 18 points in the first 20 minutes of play. Jaycob Velasco led the Hawks with 14 points in the half, including four three-pointers. The game remained pretty tight for the remaining time as Diablo Valley went into halftime leading 33-31.
Being up by two at the start of the second half, DVC managed to slow down the Hawks' game with a match-up-zone defense, and they would take their largest lead of the game late in the second half. CRC's sophomore guards, Rodney Cooks and AJ Bridges, did a really great job of rebounding down and penetrating their zone defense, helping CRC come back to tie the game up at 60-60 in regulation time, requiring the game go into over time. The Hawks showed their dominance in over time by controlling the possession from the start of overtime. Velasco connected on his fifth three-pointer of the game to open the scoring in overtime, ending him with 23 points and 12 rebounds. DVC's offense could only score four points in OT, and the Hawks converted their free-throws to get the 72-64 win in the conference opener. The Hawks' starters play incredibly with three players ending up with double digit scoring. Rodney Cook put up 18 points 9 rebounds and 4 assists, while Bridges had 14 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds.
Cosumnes River College's next game is against cross-town rivals American River College. "ARC is a very young team with only two sophomores and lack experience," says assistant coach Nicholas Podesta. "They always play hard in our gym however, so they are certainly not a team we can overlook." There is always a well-fought game in any sport that these two cross-town rivals play against each other. Both teams are passionate about their school and team, and will put their heart on the court to win.