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 6-foot-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.