Sophomore guard Phil Randles
Sophomore guard Phil Randles

SACRAMENTO, Calif.- The Cosumnes River men's basketball team extended their current winning streak to eight games Friday night, when they defeated rival Sacramento City 88-58 at home.  The Hawks remain in first place in the Big 8 conference, with a two game lead, and only four games to play.

Coming off a dominant performance earlier this week, where CRC defeated crosstown rival American River 79-63, the Hawks weren't looking for a letdown against a struggling Sac City Panthers team.  Cosumnes River had previously defeated Sac City twice this season, including a 29 point blowout on the road last month in conference play.  The Hawks would have to match the intensity of the Panthers, a team that was looking to play spoiler against their rivals last night.

The game was close over the first five minutes of play, as the team's traded leads multiple times during the game's first few possessions.  Forward Brandon Rowden got things going early for the Panthers, scoring 11 of the team's first 13 points, seven of which came from the free throw line.  Sophomore guard Josh Dela Cruz was very effective early on for the Hawks as well, knocking down a pair of jumpers to lead the Hawks to a 10-9 advantage at the 15 minute mark of the first half.

That would be as close as the Panthers would get, however, as the team struggled to score for the remainder of the half.  Cosumnes River's defense, ranked third in the entire state smothered Sacramento City, allowing only seven Panthers points the remainder of the half.  A Dela Cruz three pointer would push the Hawks advantage to 10, giving CRC a 22-12 lead at the halfway mark of the first half.

A pair of Will White jumpers followed by a David Straughter pullup followed, however the story of the first half was Phil Randles catching fire.  Randles scored 14 points in the first half, including three three-pointers to push the Cosumnes River lead to 33, as CRC took a 48-15 lead into the break.  Dela Cruz was second in scoring with nine points at the break, while freshman guard Josh Johnson had seven assists after the first 20 minutes of play.

The game didn't get much closer the rest of the way, as the Cosumnes River lead fluctuated between 35 points and 29 for the remainder of the contest.  Freshman forward Arnie Vargas played well for the Panthers during the second half, scoring 15 points in the second half to try to bring his team back into the ballgame.  It would be too little too late, however, as three Trenton Anthony three-pointers sealed Cosumnes River's 88-58 victory over Sacramento City.

It was a balanced offensive game for Cosumnes River, as five players recorded double-figures in scoring in the victory.  Randles led the way with 16 points, including three three-pointers.  The sophomore guard from Fresno also contributed three rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.  Sophomore guard Josh Dela Cruz scored 13 points on an efficient 6-10 from the field, grabbing four rebounds while dishing out three assists on the night. 

Guards Mitchell Love and Trenton Anthony added 12 and 11 points respectively, while freshman forward Ty'Quan Neal added 10 points on a perfect 5-5 night from the field.  Freshman guard Josh Johnson stuffed the stat sheet Friday night, scoring seven points, while recording seven rebounds and a game-high nine assists.  Center Donald Mims scored five points, while grabbing a team high eight rebounds and blocking four shots, in 24 minutes of action.

Forwards Brandon Rowden and Arnie Vargas each led Sacramento City with 14 points.  Guard Devin Joseph led the Panthers with eight rebounds on the night, while Victor Rustin scored six points and collected six rebounds for the Panthers.

Cosumnes River improves to 18-7 on the year, and 8-2 in conference, good for first-place in the Big 8 conference.  Sacramento City's record falls to 8-15 overall, and 2-8 in conference.  The Hawks maintain their two-game lead over three teams in the Big 8 conference, with only four games left to go in the regular season.  CRC opens the week against the Sierra Wolverines on the road Tuesday night in Rocklin.  The Hawks defeated Sierra earlier this season, 92-87 at home during the first half of conference play.

Cosumnes River will return home on Thursday night for a game against the Delta Mustangs.  The Hawks defeated the Mustangs 85-73 during their first meeting last month.  Tipoff for Thursday night's game is scheduled for 7:30.