It took overtime once again for the Cabrillo Seahawks to pull off another nail biter in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) championship tournament on Wednesday night and now they are two wins away from becoming season champs.
No. 8 Cabrillo stunned the No. 1 seed City College of San Francisco Rams, 76-70, in front of a roaring crowd of over 250 home fans at the Community Health and Wellness Center gymnasium in San Francisco. The Rams were State champs last year and had a 27-3 record this year. Cabrillo had a record of 24-3.
“I’m proud of our guys, we played well. If we can play smart all the time, but we played well,” said Cabrillo head coach Tony Marcopulos.
This time it was a triple threat from guards Tyler Velasquez, Aaron Short, and center Frank Rogers that helped the Seahawks soar to victory over the top ranked team in this year’s tournament and defending champions.
“I’m feeling great, can’t even explain the feeling," said Short. "I feel like Coach did it. He gave us the recipe and all we had to do is put it together, come out and get the W.”
Some of Cabrillo’s faithful made the road trip all up to the city to support their Seahawks and they too made noise for the men in black.
The Seahawks kept it close with the Rams, 15-14 with 12:00 left in the first half and Rogers took charge of the team as he knocked in six of his 14 points and grabbed two of his 11 rebounds to start off.
And just as Cabrillo looked to grow its lead, Short slipped and committed a costly turnover. CCSF took advantage of the mistake after they scored a couple of buckets to go ahead of the Seahawks, 18-17 with 8:30 left on the clock.
However, Short redeemed himself with a jump shot and a three pointer to put Cabrillo back up by a point, 22-21, with 6:30 left, and the momentum seemed to have shifted. Short finished the game with 18 points.
It was still a tight game with the time winding down in the first half and the Rams showed the Seahawks why they were last season’s defending champions when they suffocated Cabrillo at times with a full-court press.
“They’re very, very good and well coached.” said Marcopulos.
Going into halftime the Seahawks were up 34-33 and walked into the locker room with a lot of confidence and more important, the lead.
The second half started off as a mirror image of the first. But with 14:30 left the Seahawks committed another turnover after they were called for a charging foul. The error by Cabrillo let CCSF take the lead, 46-42.
Velasquez started to warm up after he knocked in a three pointer and drove the ball in to give back the Seahawks the lead, 49-48 with 9:20 left in the second half and he finished with a game high 24 points.
Yet, two crucial turnovers by Cabrillo allowed the Rams to jump all over the foolish mistakes and CCSF scored five straight points to regain the lead, 53-49 with eight minutes left.
The Seahawks pulled within two points and that’s when Velasquez decided to sink in a three-point basket to give Cabrillo back the lead, 54-53.
But the Rams never gave up and fought back with six unanswered points to snatch the lead back from the Seahawks, 59-58 with only 1:27 left.
After Short went scoreless in the second half, forward Thomas Pierce, who finished with 16 points, stepped up and contributed a key bucket with seconds left to put Cabrillo up, 62-61.
Now it was up to the Seahawks defense for a key stop but as the Rams drove in for the shot, a foul was called on Cabrillo, which sent a Rams guard to the free throw line and a chance to send the visitors back home. The shooter only made one of two attempts and sent the game into overtime, 62-62.
In the five minutes of extended play, Velasquez knocked in another three pointer with 3:25 to go on the game clock and gave the Seahawks a 67-66 lead. Also in overtime Short finally snapped out his scoring drought from the second half and knocked in seven points to lift Cabrillo past CCSF, 76-70.
“We just came out and played, we played our hardest and came out with the win,” said Velasquez.
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