Photo by Bruce Jacobsen
LANCASTER – The Marauder men's basketball team reached the finals of the 65th Gregg Anderson Memorial Tournament for the second year in a row with a convincing 76-67 victory over Ventura College, Saturday night at Marauder Gymnasium.
AVC (5-4), which is now riding a four-game winning streak since beginning the season 1-4, will face 13th ranked Fullerton College, which upset No. 1 ranked San Bernardino Valley College in the other semifinal game.
The Marauders got a little bit of revenge against the Pirates (7-5) after Ventura defeated them on their home floor on Nov. 3 at the Ventura Tournament.
D'Mauria Jones led all scorers with a career-high 24 points on 8-of-9 shooting. He also added three steals, two rebounds and two assists.
It was Jones' quick striking offense in the second half which helped the Marauders take a second half lead after trailing most of the first half. During the second half Jones scored four consecutive points, netted his only 3-pointer of the game and converted the conventional 3-point play helping AVC build a 58-51 midway through the second half.
"Coach (John Taylor) told us just to go out and play our game," said Jones. "This team has come a long way (since earlier this season). Now we're starting to look like a team that can win state. This is a good win for us, but a better win will be tomorrow (against Fullerton). That's our main focus. Every victory is a good victory."
AVC seemingly started to pull away, however, a 9-3 run by the Pirates kept the game close as the Marauders only led 61-60 at that point with 5:16 remaining in the game. A designed out of bounds play which resulted in a dunk by Jailen Gill and two free throws by Jones extended the lead to 65-60.
A 3-point shot by Ventura kept it close at 65-63 with a little more than four minutes remaining. A combined five points by Jones and Gill and a key steal by Jones helped solidify the victory.
Antone Warren collected his third double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Gill came off the bench and finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
They say it's the hardest eight-team tournament in the state to win.
Maybe they were right. You never know what to expect.
Rankings? You can throw those out the window. Predictions? Pretty much the same.
Let's see. How about the No. 1 ranked team in the state being upset and ousted out of the finals of the tournament for the first time since 2012. Or maybe a winless team on the season upsetting the 19th ranked team in the state.
Recap of Saturday's games below.
Fullerton 73, San Bernardino 72
The Hornets survived with a victory over the top ranked team in the state as San Bernardino's Ja Morgan missed a layup as time expired helping Fullerton (6-2) reach the finals of the tournament.
The Hornets, which entered the game ranked 13th in the state, seemed to hold a comfortable lead, 72-64, with only two minutes remaining in the game, however, a 3-pointer and a couple of costly turnovers by Fullerton helped the Wolverines (7-1) crawl their way back into the game to tie the score at 72-72 with 25 seconds remaining.
The Hornets' Dillon Reise made 1-of-2 free throws putting his team up by one when San Bernardino called timeout with three seconds remaining. A last second drive Morgan fell just off the rim to preserve the victory for Fullerton.
Brandon Jolley led all scorers with 24 points for the Wolverines. He also added nine rebounds. Nick Anderson led the Hornets with 15 points.
Mira Costa 82, Rio Hondo 69
The Spartans (4-6) opened the first 10 minutes of the game on a 24-6 run and never looked back.
Each time the Roadrunners would try to mount a comeback, Mira Costa responded. Rio Hondo (6-4) chipped away at the lead midway through the second half actually only trailed 65-57 with 8:10 remaining, however, a 15-2 run by the Spartans ruined any chances at a potential victory. That run put Mira Costa up 80-59.
Mira Costa had four of its five starters score in double figures, led by Brady Twombly and Brett Hollins each with 18 points.
LA Harbor 67, Bakersfield 65
The Seahawks (1-6) picked up their first victory of the season by knocking off the Renegades, ranked No. 19 in the state.
LA Harbor finished the final 51 seconds by outscoring Bakersfield 6-0 including two conventional 3-point plays by Christian Pumphrey, which cut the Renegades' lead to 65-64 with 27 seconds remaining, and Joel Anderson (19 points) with 12.7 seconds remaining which proved to be the game winner.
Donal Hughes led all scorers with 28 points on 13-of-20 shooting for the Seahawks. Bakersfield (6-5) was led by Tucker Eenigenburg who finished with 17 points, including five 3-pointers.