SACRAMENTO, Calif.- Head Coach James Giacomazzi and the Cosumnes River men's basketball team extended their current winning streak to five games, as they defeated Big 8 conference rival Sacramento City College 62-55, in the championship game of the 36th Annual James Clark Classic. The Hawks overall record is now 5-3 with two tournaments remaining in their pre conference schedule.
The Hawks opened the championship game with a slow start, struggling to execute to open the half. Sacramento City guard Derek Rhodes opened the contest with a pair of three-pointers to put CRC in an early 7-3 hole through the first five minutes of play. Following the timeout, Coach Giacomazzi and his Hawks did a much better job of penetrating the Sac City defense, as forwards Ty'Quan Neal and David Straughter scored four points and six points respectively to take an early 16-12 advantage half-way through the first half. Rhodes continued to impress through the first half, adding three more points for the Panthers while sophomore Adam Ciszewski connected on a three to cut CRC's lead to one, as Cosumnes River led Sac City 23-22 with five minutes remaining in the first half. The Panthers then seized control of the contest, going on a 10-2 run to close the half as freshman guard Kellen Hill scored five consecutive points to conclude the half, as Sacramento City enjoyed a 32-25 lead after the first twenty minutes of action. Straughter led the Hawks with eight points and eight rebounds through the first half, while Rhodes nine points led the visiting Panthers.
The beginning of the second half saw more of the same for the Hawks, who once again struggled out of the gate. A pair of baskets by freshman guard Trenton Anthony followed by a outback by freshman center Donald Mims helped Cosumnes River to keep the Sac City lead at seven, but early scores by Victor Rustin and Brandon Rowden kept CRC from making any progress, as City lead CRC 48-41 with 10 minutes to play. A three-pointer by freshman guard Will White and a pair of layups from forward Neal helped Cosumnes River cut the deficit to five points with five minutes to play, as Sac City led 53-48 with five minutes left to play in the second half.
Cosumnes River's halfcourt defense would be the story the rest of the contest, however, as it led the Hawks on a 14-2 run to close out the contest, as the Panthers would only manage a pair of free throws over the last five minutes of the game. A White three-pointer tied the game at 53-53, while a Straughter free throw gave the Hawks the lead for good, as CRC led 54-53 at the two minute mark. A Straughter jumper followed by an Anthony three cemented the championship for the Hawks, as Cosumnes River defeated Big 8 rival Sacramento City 62-55 to take its second consecutive James Clark Classic championship.
Four Hawks scored in double-figures for the third consecutive game, and ten players played double-digit minutes in the win. Forward David Straughter recorded team-highs in scoring and rebounding, pairing 14 points with 18 rebounds to notch his third double-double of the young season. He also recorded two blocks and an assist en route to securing All-Tournament honors. Tournament Most Valuable Player Trenton Anthony scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the championship game. Will White and Ty'Quan Neal scored 11 points and 10 points respectively off the bench, while sophomore guard Mitchell Love was also named All-Tournament. Forward Brandon Rowden led Sacramento City with 16 points.
Cosumnes River is idle this week as they prepare for the 77th MJC Tournament later this month at Modesto Junior College. The 16-team tournament tips off on the 16th, when Cosumnes River takes on Columbia in the opening round. The tournament runs all week, with the championship game taking place that Saturday.
In the earlier games, Chabot defeated Napa 87-72 in the third-place game, while Feather River defeated Siskiyous 86-44 in a matchup of Golden Valley Conference foes in the consolation championship game.
ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Trenton Anthony (Cosumnes River)
Mitchell Love (Cosumnes River)
Brandon Rowden (Sacramento City)
David Straughter (Cosumnes River)
Kellen Sweetwyne (Chabot)
Jarrell Tate (Feather River)