Though the playoffs seem somewhat out of reach, the City College women’s basketball team is still trying to push its way into the postseason.
The Panthers held on to beat the Santa Rosa Bear Cubs 59-56 after a late steal by freshman guard Jazmine Garcia sealed the victory.
Santa Rosa tied the game at 53 with three minutes remaining. Freshman guard Brandy Huffhines put the Panthers up 56-53 after a layup with 48 seconds remaining in the game. The Bear Cubs’ final chance to send the game into overtime was thwarted when Garcia came and snatched the ball. The Panthers were able to play keepaway for the remaining four seconds.
City College outscored Santa Rosa in the second and third quarter after a sloppy first quarter in which they were outscored 18-6.
“We hadn’t shown up yet, and so I challenged them and told them they need to show up,” head coach Julia Allender said about her team’s first-quarter play.
Huffhines finished with a game-high 23 points and went 6-for-8 on free throws in the fourth quarter to close the game down the stretch.
Allender also credited her team for being more aggressive on rebounding the basketball against Santa Rosa.
“They played with a lot more energy,” said Allender. “They (Santa Rosa) shot much better from the three and took things away from us that we were able to get the first time.”
One of things Santa Rosa was able to take away from City College was freshman guard Maddison Coleman. Coleman was held to just five points after putting up 14 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the Jan. 4 game at Santa Rosa.
City College used a 19-4 run in the second quarter and trailed 22-21 before taking its first lead of the game early in the third quarter. The Panthers took a 7-point lead into the fourth quarter after freshman guard Dejanet Porter made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give her team a 44-37 lead.
Before the victory, the Panthers had lost four of their previous five after going on a three-game winning streak. The win made City College 6-6 in the Big 8 and 9-13 overall. They would need to win their four remaining games to finish with a .500 overall record.
It’s not impossible, however, to sneak into the postseason with a losing record. City earned a playoff berth last season with a 6-8 mark in the Big 8, going 14-16 overall.
The Panthers’ next game will be Feb. 2 at American River College. City beat the Beavers Jan. 6 by a score of 64-48 in their previous meeting.
The Sacramento City College men’s basketball team dropped to 6-6 in the Big 8 Conference after suffering its second loss of the season Jan. 30 to Santa Rosa College.
The Panthers are now 14-11 overall on the season and have dropped to fifth place in the conference. However, there is still a chance they can make a playoff push.
“We got tired,” Panthers head coach Andrew Jones said while discussing the closing minutes of his team’s performance. “We turned it over a bunch during that time. They (Santa Rosa) made some big buckets, but also us getting tired allowed them to attack the rim and make layups.”
City opened the second half on a 14-4 run after trailing by 5 points at the end of the first half. Santa Rosa, the No. 7-ranked team in California, was able to retake the lead when the Panthers went on a scoring drought that lasted nearly three minutes.
The Bear Cubs were able to take a 40-35 lead into the half after opening the game on an 11-2 run. The Panthers followed that up with a 13-2 run and eventually tied the score at 22. Santa Rosa then made three consecutive 3-pointers, forcing the Panthers to call timeout.
Sophomore guard Gabe Serna hit a floater three minutes into the second half, giving his team its first lead of the game. Serna finished with a team-high 24 points, including six made 3-pointers. The conference’s second leading scorer, Troy Owens, was held to just 13 points against the Bear Cubs after scoring 22 in an 83-69 road win against Sierra College in the previous game.
Santa Rosa (19-4, 12-0) extended its winning streak to 15 games and has swept the season series against the Panthers. The Bear Cubs defeated City College 83-72 on Jan. 4 in Santa Rosa.
“This time we played all man-to-man defense,” said Jones. “There (at Santa Rosa) we played zone because we didn’t feel that we could guard, but we’ve been guarding better recently.”
City College finished the month of January with a 5-5 record and will split four games at home and on the road in its final four regular season games. Jones said the playoffs are still a possibility, but the team will likely have to finish third in the conference to do so. Sitting at fifth place, they would need to win out to have a chance at postseason play.
City College will have a chance for its first series sweep of any opponent this season when they travel to American River College Feb. 2. City beat the Beavers Jan. 6 by a score of 89-85.