The Comets honored their sophomore athletes and took control of first place in the Bay Valley Conference by beating Merritt College (14-13 overall and 9-3 in the Bay Valley Conference) on Wednesday.
In the sophomore’s final home game in conference, the Comets (22-6 overall and 11-1) were able to outlast Merritt 66-62.
The Thunderbirds flew into the Comets’ home court on a three game winning streak looking to take control of first place in the BVC.
The late season match-up would determine who would be crowned BVC champion.
Riding a nine-game win streak, the Comets success is bolstered by its fast paced offense and defense.
This game would prove to be the opposite of a typical Comet game. It carried a slower pace and eventually came down to both teams needing to make free throws to stay in the game.
“We’re a fast team. The fouls slowed us down a lot.” Sophomore guard Bobby Syvanthong (eight points and five assists) said. “We shot too many 3’s in the first half. We wanted to attack more in the second.”
The leadership exhibited by the second year players assisted in keeping the team focused in the midst of a slow first half start. The first basket of the game was a alley-oop delivered by Syvanthong to forward Larry Wickett (11 points and eight rebounds).
Executing on offense and getting out to a fast start would not be a marker of how the rest of the half would be played.
CCC pulled ahead early to a score of 10-4 forcing the Thunderbirds to call a timeout. Coming out of the timeout both offenses saw a lull in productivity. The two teams could not find an offensive rhythm and turned the ball over.
The Thunderbirds were able to secure a temporary lead late into the half but the Comets were able to close out the half on an 11-3 run.
CCC went into halftime leading Merritt 29-26.
During halftime the sophomore players were honored in a short ceremony. DeAndre Russell, Bobby Syvanthong, Danzell Walker, Anthony Sullen, Deonte Smith, and Larry Wickett all were presented with small gifts and posed for pictures with their coaches and families.
Syvanthong said being a sophomore and one of the oldest players on the team made him mature quickly.
“Sophomores are the leaders on the team that set the tone.” Sullen said.”We need to go hard in practice and the game to set an example.”
The second half took on a slow pace being a battle of free-throw shooting. Both teams were making their free throws at a consistent rate. The good free-throw shooting kept the game close for Merritt despite CCC leading throughout the half.
With 29.8 seconds left in the second half Merritt was able to bring the score close at 64-62. CCC defended well and took possession and the momentum of the game.
Guard Dwight Wilson sunk a floater with 6 seconds left in the half to make it a four-point game at 66-62. The Thunderbirds were unable to retaliate and CCC won the game and secured first place in the Bay Valley Conference.