Sophomore guard Mitchell Love
Sophomore guard Mitchell Love

SANTA ROSA, Calif.- The Cosumnes River men's basketball team took their fifth straight victory in conference play, defeating defending state champion Santa Rosa 69-58 on the road Tuesday night.  The Hawks improved to 15-7 and remain in first place in the Big 8 conference.

CRC entered Tuesday night's matchup against Santa Rosa coming off an ugly win over Modesto last Friday.  The Hawks offense was anemic in that contest, and the cold shooting continued into the beginning of this game, as the Bear Cubs took the early lead on a Siaan Rojas three-pointer to open the game.  Parker Farris was fouled on a three-point attempt the next possession, and converted all three free throws, as CRC saw themselves in a 6-0 hole after the first two minutes of play.  Josh Dela Cruz converted a field goal to open the scoring for the Hawks, bringing CRC to within four. 

A David Straughter three-pointer followed by a field goal helped give CRC its first lead of the night, as the Hawks led 9-8 after the first five minutes of play.  Cosumnes River's defense, currently ranked among the best in the state, held Santa Rosa scoreless for over six minutes, before an Arnold Silva jumper pulled the Bear Cubs back within three.  Santa Rosa's sophomore point guard Davone Oliver would put the Bear Cubs back up, however, at the ten minute mark as he converted a three pointer on a shot he was fouled on.  Oliver made the free throw to finish off the four point play, giving Santa Rosa a 14-13 lead at the ten minute mark.  Both teams would trade leads over the next ten minutes, before Santa Rosa pushed their lead to seven with 1:24 to play in the first half, at 32-25.  Straughter would knock down a three at the buzzer to pull the Hawks back to within four, as Santa Rosa took a 32-28 advantage into the intermission.

That would be Santa Rosa's last lead of the game, however, as Cosumnes River's defense shut the Bear Cubs down to begin the second half.  A Straughter layup followed by a pair of Mitchell Love baskets gave the Hawks a 34-32 lead, forcing head coach Craig McMillan to call a timeout.  Siaan Rojas knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the game back up at 34, but that would be the closest Santa Rosa would get the rest of the half, as Cosumnes River would push their lead to as many as 14 over the next 20 minutes of play.  Love would take over the game for the Hawks, scoring 14 of his game high 22 points in the second half, as CRC soundly defeated the Bear Cubs 69-58 Tuesday night.

Love scored 22 points on 9-18 shooting, grabbing six rebounds while also dishing seven assists, in the win.  Straughter scored 19 points, while narrowly missing a double-double, collecting nine rebounds while dishing out three assists.  Sophomore guard Phil Randles scored 12 points including three three-pointers.   Center Donald Mims recorded seven rebounds while blocking five shots in 26 minutes of play.

Sophomore forward Corey Hammell scored a team-high 17 points for Santa Rosa, while playing most of the game in foul trouble.  Davone Oliver scored 15 points, while freshman forward Siaan Rojas scored ten points, to round out the Bear Cubs scoring.

Cosumnes River improves to 15-7 overall and a record of 5-2 in Big 8 conference play.  The Hawks will take on Diablo Valley on the road Friday night to begin the second half of conference play.  CRC will return home next week for a pair of contests against rivals American River and Sacramento City.