Team played with heart in men’s basketball team’s season-ending game, head coach says

The men’s basketball team saw its season end in a spectacularly close game. The Cosumnes River College Hawks pushed their final game of the season into overtime, but fell 92-89 to the San Joaquin Delta Mustangs.

Head coach Jonathan James said going into the game he felt good about his team.

“My sophomores, they want to go out on top, their teammates want to see them go out on top,” James said. “We were going to fight until the end, and so I was excited about the game.”

The game started off even, with both teams matching each other’s skill. The Hawks, however, had some issues with foul trouble early in the first half.

“You’ve just got to take that and kind of roll with the punches,” James said. “You’ve got to adjust; you can’t sit and dwell on it.”

The game was a hard-fought match for both teams, with neither holding more than a four-point lead for more than half of the game.

The first half saw a lot of action, with both teams fighting hard for an edge over the other. Freshman guard Khari Hutt, who had 15 points and three assists, and sophomore guard Trevor Hooper, who had eight points and one assist, were key players for the Hawks in the first half. Hooper said that he owed much of his success during the game to his teammates.

“It came from teammates. They gave me confidence, and I thought it was a great way for my last game here at CRC,” Hooper said. “I owe all my confidence and all my shooting to my teammates.”

The first half ended with the score tied 40-40. When the teams returned for the second half, the Hawks seemed to be playing much faster and more aggressive than they had in the first half.

“The strategy didn’t change for us at all,” James said. “It was going to come down to a couple possessions, and that’s what it did. It came down to one possession at the end of the game, in overtime even.”

Sophomore guard Leondre Lintz, who had 17 points and one assist, was heavily defended during the first half but was able to get free and start scoring big for the Hawks in the second half. Lintz said that his plan was to try to be a team player as best as he could.

“It was more so getting my teammates involved and getting them going,”  Lintz said. “For the most part, my teammates did a great job picking their spots and getting to their spots and making the open shots.”

The second half was fiercely fought, with both teams racking up fouls as they each tried to get the lead. Near the end of the game, the Mustangs were able to maintain a small lead with the score sitting at 80-75 with hardly less than a minute left in the half.

The Hawks gave a final push with less than a minute to go, getting the score to 80-77 with less than 20 seconds to play. They were given a last chance when Lintz was given three free throw attempts with 3.8 seconds left to play. Lintz was able to sink all three shots and tie the score at 80-80, sending the game into overtime.

“I just thought, you know, ‘Put my team in the best situation,’” Lintz said. “I knew that we could get it done in overtime.”

The five minutes of overtime were brutal, with more than 10 fouls being called overall for both teams. In the last few seconds of play, Lintz tried to shoot a three-point buzzer beater to tie the game, but was unable to find the basket.

The game ended as an 92-89 loss for the Hawks, but the players remained in good spirits, reminiscing about their experiences with the team and what they would take away from the season.

“My teammates, I love these guys to death,” Lintz said. “We grew into a family.”

James positively reflected on the season and talked about the immense effort that his team put in.

“Heart isn’t taught. You either have it or you don’t, and I’d say for the most part, my guys, they’re fearless and they play with a lot of heart,” James said. “We’re going to play tough, we’re going to play hard, and that’s what you’ve seen tonight.”