Fresno City has slow start, bows out in state semi­fi­nals

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Sports - BY NICK GIANNANDRE­A Spe­cial to The Bee

Fresno City Col­lege got off to a dis­as­trous start in the state men’s bas­ket­ball semi­fi­nal Satur­day against Fuller­ton and couldn’t re­cover.

The state No. 4 -ranked Rams went score­less over the first 5 min­utes 49 sec­onds and lost 58-49 to No. 2 Fuller­ton at the Cal­i­for­nia Com­mu­nity Col­lege Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion cham­pi­onships.

Fresno City was seek­ing its eighth state fi­nals ap­pear­ance and sixth ti­tle. But Fuller­ton (29-3), the top seed from South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, and City Col­lege of San Fran­cisco (31-1) have been hard acts to crack, trad­ing the Nos. 1 and 2 spots in the state rank­ings all sea­son. They’ll meet Sun­day for the cham­pi­onship.

Af­ter start­ing the sea­son 2-3 (with two of those losses to CCSF), Fresno City went on a 26-game win­ning streak in­clud­ing a 16-0 run through the Cen­tral Val­ley Con­fer­ence.

That hot streak turned cold at the start against Fuller­ton. The Rams opened 1 of 11 from the field while fall­ing into a 17-point deficit.

Fresno City outscored Fuller­ton 16-9 over the fi­nal 8:35 of the first half to get within 28-16. And Ge­orgie Dancer’s bas­ket with 11:30 left made it 39-34. But Jailen Moore sank a 3-pointer to start a 13-2 run.

Fresno City got within five again at 54-49 on El­jay Gal­le­gos’ 3-pointer with 40 sec­onds left, but two free throws from Moore with 25.5 sec­onds left es­sen­tially sealed the out­come for Fuller­ton.

Ethan Richard­son, the 6foot-10 sopho­more cen­ter from Madera, led the Rams with 11 points and seven re­bounds. Dancer added nine points and five as­sists, while David Rico and Jared Small con­trib­uted eight points apiece.

Fuller­ton re­ceived 15 points and eight re­bounds from Lance Cole­man II.

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