Playoff matchup against Cuesta College came down to the wire

On Friday night, the Men’s basketball team needed overtime to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Quick start to the Falcons as they jumped to a 6-0 lead.

Due to their ball-hawking defense, the Falcons got out and ran early with three quick scores from forwards Jarion Henry and Victor Jones. Cuesta College looked lost in the early moments of the game and the Falcons made sure to capitalize on their early mistakes.

Freshman point guard Austin Pope came off the bench and scored two back-to-back three point shots, giving the Falcons a 15-8 lead with nine minutes left in the first half. Falcons were getting great contribution from their bench as Josh Bell and Jordan Reise shot quick scores off turnovers.

Going into the half, the Falcons had a solid nine point lead. Turnovers were key in the first half for the Falcons, as they caused havoc for Cuesta College.

Freshman point guard Austin Pope led the way with a team high 10 points at the half. The second half looked to be going the Falcon’s way, but Cuesta College came out of the break on a 9-4 run cutting the Falcons lead to six.

Cuesta College’s two-three zone slowed the pace down for the Falcons who had a good first half running up and down the court. Poor shooting for Cuesta was not a problem in the second half, as they started getting stops and getting out and running. Cuesta cut the lead to one with under 10 minutes left.

Winn got the Falcons back on pace with a much needed 3-point shot at the top of the key to give the Falcons a four point lead. The Falcons looked to be in control, but Cuesta wouldn’t go away, as they went on a 8-0 run of their own to tie the game at 53 with less then five minutes to play.

Forward Josh Bell got behind the defense and came through with a much needed basket to put the Falcons up two. Next offensive trip down for the Falcons, Josh bell grabbed a fierce offensive rebound and went back up to give the Falcons a four point lead with less then two minutes left in the game.

Cuesta came back to tie the game before Pope gave a defender a silky-smooth spin move in the middle of the lane to put the Falcons up two. Cuesta stayed relentless, as they shot a quick layup to tie the game with seven seconds left.

Jones missed a potential game winning shot, the game then would be decided in overtime. To start overtime, Jones gave the Falcons a three point lead with a slick and-one layup past two defenders.

The Falcons were hungry and determined to get the win, as they edged out a 71-67 win to advance.

Assistant Coach Jordan Littlejohn praised the overtime victory and nothing but proud of his players.

“We were patient, and played Falcons offense and we hit out free throws,” said Littlejohn.

“Our point guard grabbed some major rebounds when it got tight, they didn’t choke,” he also added.

Clutch rebounds and free throws were what helped the Falcons secure the victory.

Forwards Josh Bell and Jon Benson believe being tougher and hitting more shots was the key to the overtime victory.

“The key to the overtime victory was just toughing up and playing harder then them.”, said Bell

“We practice out here hard everyday so we deserve it at the end of the day,” he added.

“The key to our overtime victory was help defense and just staying hungry,” added Benson.

The Falcons travel to Antelope Valley Wednesday, March 5th as they continue their search to the CCCAA state championships.