Men survive late Cuesta surge, keep playoff hopes alive

Victor Bryant

City College men’s basketball team recorded a crucial 80-78 victory over a highly touted Cuesta team, Saturday at the Sports Pavilion.

Playing for its playoff lives, the Vaqueros turned to freshman point guard David Lane who scored 25 points, breaking down the Cuesta defense early and often, to ignite the City College offense.

“I know Cuesta is a great team and they finish well,” said Lane. “I knew I had to speed up my tempo a little bit, get some other people involved and score some for myself.”

Lane, an Akron, Ohio native did just that by setting up easy buckets for his teammates off of penetration. Lane finished with eight assists.

According to head coach Morris Hodges the Vaqueros 13-16 (5-4) will have to win its final three games to remain in playoff contention, putting the men in must-win mode the rest of the way.

The Vaqueros got off to a quick start, utilizing a full court press to take the taller Cougars out of its offense, which secured a 9-2 lead in the opening moments.

The Vaqs bench contributed throughout the first half led by Daniel Koaches who went 4-5 from three point range, giving the Vaqueros the spark they needed to come out on top.

“I think Daniel really stepped up but, I thought we had a good effort from everyone especially in the first half,” Hodges said.

In the second half, City College took a major blow when forward Richard Somdah fouled out with 3:16 remaining in the game.

Somdah was replaced by Joshua Alce who wasted little time making his presence felt, scoring six points in the closing minutes including a monster dunk on a lob pass from Lane, that sent the Sports Pavilion crowd into frenzy.

“Josh Alce was huge,” Hodges said. “He hits the turnaround jumper right off the bench, then in transition, he finishes that pass from Dave. Those are two clutch plays from a guy who had been sitting a long time.”

In the closing moments Brandon Greene was fouled with Vaqueros clinging to a two-point lead. Greene missed the first free throw giving Cuesta a chance to tie the game with a score or win with a three pointer.

Tom Schumacher’s three-point attempt rimmed out as time expired giving the Vaqs the victory.

The Vaqueros next game is on the road at 5 p.m. Feb. 11 against L.A. Pierce in Woodland Hills.