CRC started this week competing in the 16-team 80th Annual MJC Classic. This event features six ranked teams (3 State, 2 NorCal, 1 SoCal) in the field. Coach Jonathan James wanted to test the Hawks leading up to Big 8 Conference play starting December 20th.
In tonight's 9 pm red-eye first round game with Cuesta College, CRC started out off a bit slow on defense but managed to stay basket for basket offensively for the entire first half. CRC led 33-32. In the 2nd half, it remained close until around the 8-minute mark. Cuesta nailed a three, went 2-2 from the line, then capped the 8-0 run with a transition three. Coach James called timeout, settled the Hawks down, and made a defensive adjustment. The Hawks regrouped and made a 12-3 run of their own to take a 1-point lead with about 4 minutes left. With the game tied at 67 with 46 seconds remaining, CRC attacked from the top of the key and shot a jumper in the paint, missed, then got an offensive rebound tip out. The Hawks regained possession and reset the play. De'Rajaee Austin got a drive-and-kick 3 for Jordan Roberson, but it missed and CRC had to foul. Cuesta made both free throws from a double bonus. CRC got the ball down to the half court and called timeout to set a play from sideline out-of-bounds down 69-67. CRC ran an immediate on-ball screen off the inbounds pass, Jalen Valverde drove down the lane line from near above the top of the key, drew help in the key, and dished to Paul Ohiri for a contested shot in the paint. Ohiri missed, Cuesta tipped it out, and sent it down the floor on a long outlet for an uncontested dunk because all 5 Hawks crashed for an offensive rebound since it was in the final seconds of the game.
CRC fell short 73-69 and faces Reedley in a second round matchup.