Tournament loss tarnishes BVC title win


Christian Urrutia / The Advocate

Point guard Bobby Syvanthong powers his way through the Yuba College defense during the Comets’ Bay Valley Conference tournament loss on Feb. 17. Syvanthong was fouled immediately after the attempted lay-up.

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

After successfully capturing the Bay Valley Conference title with season ending wins against second place Merritt College and Mendocino College, the men’s basketball team defeated the College of Alameda 108-73 in the first game of the BVC tournament Tuesday in the Gymnasium.

The team made quick work of the Cougars (3-23 overall and 1-11 in the BVC) in game one, but hit a familiar roadblock in the form of Yuba College (16-13 overall and 6-5 in the BVC) in round two, losing a double-digit lead and eventually the game 73-70 Wednesday in the Gymnasium.

The seventh seeded Comets will get a chance to redeem themselves as the team faces No. 10 seeded Cosumnes River College Friday at 7 p.m. in the Gymnasium in the opening round of the NorCal Regional Playoffs.

Coming into the tournament CCC (23-7 overall and 11-1 in the BVC) is ranked fifth in the state and first in the BVC, according to the most recent California Community College Athletic Association poll posted Feb. 15.

“It’s a bad loss regardless of ranking or playoff status — it still hurt us,” Comet guard Rae Jackson (14 points, five assists) said. “We didn’t beat them before and their best player was injured this time.”

Despite being up by double figures and losing, the circumstances that led to the Comets’ demise were not without controversy.

In the game, CCC had six points removed from its side of the official scorebook, combined with four points added to the Yuba total, resulting in a 10-point swing.

The problems eventually led to the head official removing the clock operator following the replacement of the official bookkeeper earlier in the contest.

Tempers reached a boiling point when, with 7.2 seconds to play and down by one, Yuba nailed a 3-pointer to go up two points. The 49ers fouled as the Comets attempted to race the length of the court and score, with 6.5 seconds on the clock.

“Everyone was screaming, one ref said reset the clock to 6.5, the other said 7.2 and there was a lady screaming 5.9 at the top of her lungs from the other side of the court,” clock operator Destanee Alexander said. “The lead official screamed he was in charge and to set the clock back to 7.2 even though the ball was passed in after the shot was made at 7.2.”

She continued, “I set the clock back to 7.2 and gave the finger to the woman screaming 5.9 who was on the other side of the court behind the official. That is when he removed me — not for the confusion, for the obscene gesture.”

“We didn’t underestimate them; we are confident that we can beat anyone we play. Between the refs and the scoreboard we feel like we beat ourselves,” Comet forward Larry Wickett said.

Despite Comet coach Miguel Johnson receiving a warning for profanity in the first half for hiccups at the scorer’s table, the team was still able to carry a seven-point lead into halftime, 33-26.

“You have a goal when you set out, so we just have to remain focused and not satisfied with mediocrity or even conference titles,” Johnson said. “The goal is to be the last team playing.”

Yuba took its first lead 60-59 with three minutes left.

Momentum swung back and forth as the game hung in the balance. As the Comets fouled to stop the clock, the 49ers made free throws and handed the Comets a three-point 73-70 loss.

Officially the decision to remove points from the Comets resulted in a loss that stands without redress.