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February 27, 2007 > Chabot men let one get away

Chabot men let one get away

By Biff Jones

For the Chabot Gladiators men's basketball team, it was a season of highs and lows. The season started out with a home game against the Hartnell College Panthers of Salinas. The Panthers play in the Coast Conference (CC) South Division and Chabot in the Coast Conference North Division. In a game the Gladiators should have won, they let it slip away as Hartnell would score on a lay-up with no time remaining to come away with a 79-78 victory.

In subsequent games over the season, Chabot defeated some good teams. They split their two meetings with Ohlone of Fremont, CC North champion and NorCal rated number one, and also split with CC North number two, City College of San Francisco; NorCal rated number five. As the regular season began to wind down, the Gladiators slipped up against conference rival Foothill of Los Altos Hills, a game they desperately needed to secure a post-season spot in one of the regionals of the NorCal Section of the California State Community College Championship Tournament.

Once again though, Chabot rose to the challenge as they ended the season on a three game winning streak. They thought that would be enough to earn a play-in game into the sixteen team NorCal playoffs, or maybe even an outright road game during the first weekend of tournament play. To their surprise, they not only qualified for post-season play, but earned a number eight seed and first round home game. Their opponent would be number nine seed and early season foe, Hartnell. The Panthers ended up as co-champs of CC South with a conference record of 9-3 and 22-9 overall. Chabot ended up third in the tough CC North with a 7-5 conference record and 22-11 overall.

Now it was time for the re-match; winner moves on, loser goes home. The first half started out with the teams trading leads before the Gladiators started to assert themselves. Chabot would build a lead of twelve points before Hartnell closed to within five points nearing half-time. At the buzzer, it was 40-33, Gladiators. Leading first half scorers for Chabot were guards, Ramon Green and Jason Curtis with eleven and nine points respectively. Gladiators center/forward Chris Woodbury was dominating on the boards and scoring consistently.

The second half saw the Gladiators increasing their lead to thirteen points before foul trouble started to plague the home side. With 6'10 center, Paki Brown, and 6'7 forward Antonio Duplessis eventually fouling out, the Panthers were able to gradually cut the lead to two points with little time remaining. Hartnell then pulled a deja vue, scoring on a lay-up as time expired, sending the game into overtime at 73 all.

In the overtime, the Panthers held a four point lead during much of the extra time before the Gladiators tied it 80-80. Chabot would then knock the ball out of bounds under the visitors basket with 1.5 seconds remaining in the extra session. Hartnell took a time out to set up an inbounds play. When play resumed, the Panthers would convert on yet another lay-up with 0.2 second left on the clock, and take what looked like an insurmountable lead, 82-80, en route to the victory.

For Chabot to win or tie the game, they needed to score on a tip-in as you cannot catch and shoot with less than 0.4 second left on the clock. In the ensuing play, Woodbury in-bounded the ball by throwing it three-fourths the length of the court. Curtis then seemed to throw the ball with two hands from below his shoulder toward the basket. The ball would find the bottom of the net and the fans and players erupted thinking they would see a second overtime period.

It wasn't to be however. The three officials huddled before declaring that Curtis had caught the ball before throwing it toward the basket. Therefore he did not release the ball in time and the 0.2 second had expired. The officials ruled no basket, giving Hartnell the 82-80 victory. If this had been a volleyball game, Curtis would have been called for a throw. The only way the basket would have counted was if Curtis had bumped the ball, as when returning serve or, in volleyball, setting, into the cylinder.

High scorers for Chabot were Greene with 26 points, Curtis and Woodbury with 11 each and Brown with 10. Hartnell will host 16th-ranked and CC South rival Monterey Peninsula College, an upset winner over number one ranked Fresno City College.

Although the Gladiator season ended a little sooner than expected, congratulations go to Head Coach Dennis Aye and all the players for taking it to the post season.

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