First game has Corsairs fighting to the End
The Santa Monica College Corsairs defeated the Cerritos College Falcons 66-65 in their season opener Saturday night at the Pavilion but the celebration was nearly foreshadowed by the controversy that ensued after both benches cleared and teams had to be separated. Tensions heated up after guard Julian Wheeler sank the game winning shot with 0.3 seconds remaining sending the Corsairs basketball into a celebration celebrated, but on the opposing team’s side. Both teams were separated and went to their locker rooms.
The Corsairs took the court with some new faces to show.
Head coach Jerome Jenkins was optimistic about his team’s performance, “we are trying to approach every game like it’s the playoffs.”
The Corsairs looked good to start the game with some early succession from their run-and-gun offense and some early buckets from guards Lee Lark and Wheeler and took that momentum into the half leading 36-27.
The rust started to show as the second half approached when Lark began cramping, replacing the injured Donte Bowie who will return during the Corsairs three day tournament.
The Falcons began creeping back into the game finding their way to the foul line after forcing the Corsairs into the bonus, but the Corsairs were able to tie the game up at 64 after Lark made one of two free throw he finished the game having six assists along with 27 points.
On the inbound play the Corsairs made a costly foul with 38.1 seconds remaining putting guard Kierre Beverly at the free throw line. He made only one of two free throws leaving enough time on the clock for one last shot.
Lark inbounded the ball heading down court setting up a play to take the shot, as time was of the essence he dished it off to freshman guard Shannon Stroud who jacked up a three point shot that clanked off the back of the rim.
Out of no where Wheeler skied for the rebound. “I just saw it [the ball] with a little time left and shot it up there,” Wheeler said after the game. What came next was pure instinct after Wheeler’s shot banked in to give the Corsairs the win to start the season.
The Corsairs will next play in a three day tournament hosted by Irvine Valley but will be back Nov.22 against Los Angeles Southwest.