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Panthers maul Hawks in annual tournament

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Led by experienced sophomores and hoping to start the season off on a high note, the Cosumnes River College men’s basketball team competed in the annual Hawks Invitational.

The team played strong offense but lost in the championship game against the rival Sacramento City College Panthers 66-65.

“We’ve got to flip the switch and figure out what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong,” said Hawks head coach James Giacomazzi. “We have strong post play but need to be dominant on the rebounds.”

CRC vs. William Jessup

The Hawks dominated in the first game of the tournament, defeating the William Jessup Junior Varsity Warriors 105-53 on Nov. 10.

The duo of freshman guards Greg Gentry and Michael Earle proved to be an effective combo. Gentry allowed the Hawks to earn many scoring opportunities by stealing and spreading the ball, while Earle finished the game with 13 points.

Sophomore forwards James Tillman, Paul Gallego and Ryan Salmonson each scored 13 points, while sophomore forward Tony Gill led the team with six assists.

“We played well, we executed well and we had good offense,” Gentry said.

CRC vs. College of the Sequoias

The CRC men’s basketball team won its second game 86-84 against the Sequoias Giants on Nov. 11.

Sequoias scored the first two points of the game and kept the defensive pressure on the Hawks.

However, the Hawks showed very quickly that they were there to win, staying ahead throughout the game and leading at the end of the second quarter 36-30.

There were many fouls and traveling calls made on both teams. Each team had over 10 fouls in the final two quarters alone.

“Played pretty well but we certainly have room for improvement,” Giacomazzi said. “We need to learn how to finish games better.”

In the last quarter with 34 seconds left on the clock, two fouls were called on the Hawks and the Panthers made two free throws to bring the score to 86-81.

With six seconds left on the clock and the ball in the Giants possession, the Hawks committed another foul, allowing the Giants to score three more free throws.

However, with no time left on the clock, the Hawks were able to squeeze out the win.

Earle said that so far the start of the season has “been good” and added that the victory against the Giants was significant because of its higher rank.

CRC vs. Sacramento City

The Hawks faced off in the championship game against the Sacramento City College Panthers on Nov. 12.

The Panthers won the game 66-65 due to poor free throw shooting by the Hawks. The team only made 45 percent of its shots from the line.

Up by one with one second left in the game, Tillman fouled Panther forward Antwoine Davis.

After Davis made the first free throw, Giacomazzi called a timeout to discuss the play after the second free throw shot.

Davis ended up knocking down the free throw to go up by one, forcing CRC to inbound the ball and attempt a shot with only one second left on the clock.

The last second shot from half court fell short and SCC won the game.

The Panthers celebrated its first Hawks Invitational win while Davis was awarded the tournament MVP award after scoring 23 points.

“We were down by nine with five minutes to go and we didn’t quit,” said SCC head coach Andrew Jones. “They missed some shots they usually make and we made the key free throws at the end of the game.”

The Hawks were still able to take something positive from the loss.

“Despite losing a game of this caliber, it provides us with a great learning tool,” Gill said. “When we get a lead we need to keep it late in games and not lose it.”

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Panthers maul Hawks in annual tournament