Saddleback men’s basketball victorious in state quarterfinals in Fresno

John Franz, Zach Cavanagh

FRESNO, Calif (March 13, 2009) — In its first game of the California Community College Athletic Association’s state championship at Selland Arena in Fresno, the No. 1 team from Southern California, Saddleback College, beat Northern California’s fourth-seeded Reedley College, 62-56, in today’s quarterfinal match up.

The Gauchos will face off against San Joaquin Delta Mustangs on Saturday at 1 p.m. After losing a 19-point second-half lead, the San Joaquin Delta Mustangs pulled out a 71-69 win over San Diego City to advance to the semifinals.

“Delta is very good, they are very well coached and it will be a very tough test for us,” said Saddleback coach, Andy Ground.

Kevin Menner led the Gauchos yet again with his toughness in the offensive zone. Menner finished the game scoring 29 points, even with three or four defensive players around him.

“I don’t care if I score 29 points or score four points, all that matters is the team got the win,” Menner said.

“That’s what he does, he is a scorer,” said Ground, “I can’t say enough about Kevin, he played tremendously tonight”.

Reedley pulled ahead ever so slightly with a 23-22 halftime lead. The Gauchos came into the second half with a sense of urgency and started to play with the same formula that has gotten them to this point, defense and controlling the tempo of the game.

As advertised, point guard Marquel Hoskins, finished the game with 18 points and nine rebounds. Hoskins and Menner for most of the game were going back and forth making buckets.

“(Hoskins) was the best point guards I have ever seen since I have been here in California, they played us so tough and it was a struggle for most of the game,” Menner said.

After starting off slow in the second half, the Tigers, took the lead 46-45 on an Asim Demmin’s field goal. The game was close until the final minutes of the game when the Gauchos took control of their future, going on a 9-1 run, pushing the score to 59-51 until Hoskins made a three-pointer with 34 seconds left. The game was still within distance for the Tigers.

The Tigers started the Gaucho parade at the free-throw line, Franklin Session and Menner made clutch free-throws to all, but iced the game and set up the meeting with the Mustangs on Saturday.

“(Reedley) were a bunch of competitors, just kept battling to the very end,” Ground said. “The team has been very resilient in the second half like we have done all year, I’m very proud of the guys tonight.”

The start time was delayed about an hour because of a triple-overtime marathon in the first quarterfinal game between North No. 3 City College of San Francisco and South No. 2 San Bernadino Valley College.

San Francisco won the game 92-87, and will face Riverside, who beat Fresno City, 71-67.

External links for further information about the Saddleback/Reedley game:

[ box scores ] [ play-by-play ]

 

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