Corsairs Fall Short in the Elite 8
It has been a thrilling and exciting journey for the #15 seed Corsairs men’s basketball team this postseason. Their first regional playoff game took place at Santa Monica College's (SMC) Corsair Gym on Wednesday, February 27 when they played against #18 seed San Diego City College. The game was intense with SMC trailing 46-35 after the first half. Santa Monica started in zone defense that backfired in the first half with San Diego knocking eight three pointers.
In the second, half SMC tightened up their defense with man-to-man coverage holding San Diego scoreless for the first seven minutes. SMC came back with momentum towards the end of the second half with sophomore Marcus Harris (#12) making a three-pointer to tie the game 72-72 in the last minute of play. Then just after San Diego picked up two free throws to give them a 74-72 advantage over SMC. The pressure was on SMC and freshman Teddy Parham (#1) made an epic three-point play in the last second to claim the victory win 75-74.
Advancing to the next round of playoffs action, SMC went on the road to face #2 seed East Los Angeles Huskies on March 2. The Huskies were undefeated all season and were ranked the #2 rebounding team in the state. The Corsairs trailed behind in the first half 32-28. The game got physical as each team battled for rebounds. With 1:27 left in the game freshman Mekhi Kimble (#2) made a three-pointer to give SMC a 61-60 lead. The Huskies had possession to take the lead and Kimble was able to grab a defensive rebound and got fouled. With 6.8 seconds left Kimble made two free throws that claimed the victory for SMC 63-60 over East LA. The Corsairs had a total of 40 rebounds while East LA was limited to a season low of 31 rebounds.
On March 9, the Corsairs were on the road, again, to face #8 seed Riverside City College (RCC) for the Regional Finals.
The game started out with a lob-sided score. SMC lit up the score 7-0 in the first four minutes of the half. Mid-way through, RCC regained momentum and took a nine-point lead. As the end of the half approached, Corsairs' Marcus Harris (#24) dunked the ball with 34 seconds left. SMC went into half-time up 30-29.
The second-half saw SMC take advantage of a three-point play when Harris (#24) was fouled by RCC's Cam'Ron Wilson (#5). Harris was unable to complete the free-throw. It was rebounded by Lucas Zemen (#11) and shot in the paint to take a 40-37 lead. From this point forward, SMC held the lead and played tight defense. With seven minutes remaining, SMC took a commanding 15 point lead, their biggest lead of the game. Riverside fought hard but it wasn't enough. The Corsairs finished victorious 66-54 to claim the Regional Finals.
The Corsairs advance to the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Tournament at Ventura College, which features the final eight playoff teams. They will play in the quarter-finals against #1 City College of San Francisco (29-1) on Thursday, March 14 at 5 pm.