Right down to the wire: questionable calls and physical play ruin Bear Cubs’ comeback

Stephen Wolmarans, Sports Staff Writer

After two strong tournament performances and a tight road win at Mendocino to

start off the season, the Santa Rosa Junior College mens basketball team play host to the

College of Marin Mariners in their first home game of the season.

The freewheeling first half saw both teams shoot well from the outside, with

Santa Rosa getting off to an especially hot start. Sophomore Josh Douglas and Freshman

Kiel Long both drained outside shots for the Bear Cubs, while George Johnson kept the

Mariners in it after Ty Davis sat most of the half after accumulating three fouls in the first

several minutes. A buzzer beating 3-pointer for Santa Rosa left the score knotted at 38

going into the break.

The second frame saw both teams play much more sound defense, with most of

the 3 point plays coming the old fashioned way as the long range jumpers dried up. Gone

too were the offensive rebounds surrendered by the Bear Cubs, as Coach Craig McMillan

reflects, “We did a better job keeping the ball out of the paint and making them shoot

tougher shots.” Santa Rosa’s gritty defense kept the game within reach despite a

lackluster field goal percentage for much of the half.

With five minutes remaining and the Bear Cubs down seven, Kiel Long converted

on a slashing drive to the basket despite a hard foul from a Marin player. His bid for the

3-point play failed, but Sophomore Siaan Rojas was there, mop in hand, to clean up and

bring Santa Rosa within 3. As the clock ticked down, the fouls mounted and the pressure

rose, with Marin shooting especially poorly from the stripe, allowing the Bear Cubs to

stay within 4 leading into the final minute of play.

As the shot clock wound down, Sophomore Jacob Wilson launched a contested 3-

pointer hoping to narrow Marin’s lead to one, but what he ended up getting was much

more surprising. Wilson’s initial shot missed, but a clutch rebound on the offensive glass

by Rojas found it’s way back out to the top of the key where Wilson launched his second

attempt. The basket dropped. The whistle blew. Wilson was fouled in the act and had

the opportunity to finish the 4-point play and tie the score at 69. Both teams gathered

around their coaches to discuss possible scenarios, and after a clutch free throw from

Wilson, Marin had the ball with 12 seconds remaining.

A hurried possession culminated in a contested shot for the Mariners, and with

overtime all but ensured, a foul was called on Santa Rosa during the final shot’s

rebounding after they brought it down. The Marin player kept us on the edge of our seats

until the last; making the second of his two shots to lift the Mariners to a 70-69 win over

the Bear Cubs.

After the game, Coach McMillan emphasized missed opportunities, stating, “We

lost the game in the first half in my opnion; the way we were shooting we should have

had a bit of a cushion.”

He continued, “The referees didn’t lose the game for us, we had our chances.”

The Bear Cubs look to right the ship next weekend when they travel to the South

Bay for the Foothill Tournament, before ending the semester hosting the Kris Kringle

Invitational Tournament December 17-19.