Santa Rosa JC, a team that began the season 3-6, completed a remarkable turnaround Sunday afternoon in Norwalk by capturing the California Community College Athletic Association State Tournament title with a 73-67 victory over San Bernardino Valley.
And, as was the case Saturday night in the Bear Cubs' narrow semifinal win over Chaffey, Kai Drewry came up with the biggest shot of the game.
This time, the sophomore from Larkspur made an acrobatic layup with 25 seconds remaining to give his team a 69-67 lead.
With defenders in front of him trying to block the shot, Drewry scooped the ball onto the rim.
“I shot it with my right hand going to my left,” Drewry said. “I figured if I could get the ball on the rim and put some English on it, it had a chance to go in.”
Drewry was hit on the play but no foul was called. He was on the ground watching as the ball slipped through the goal.
San Bernardino, the top seed out of Southern California, quickly raced down the court and missed a shot.
Center Luke Cocheran grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 11 seconds on the clock. The 6-foot-10 sophomore from Loomis swished two free throws to make it 71-67.
On the Wolverines' next possession, Gerry Blakes threw up an errant 3-point try. Alec Kobre got the rebound and was fouled with two seconds left. He sank both shots for the final margin.
Kobre scored a team-high 17 and was selected the tournament's most valuable player.
The victory was the first for a men's team in the school's 96-year history and the magical outcome almost got away.
The Bear Cubs appeared to have the game in hand with two minutes to go. A steal and a dunk by Drewry and two free throws by Matthew Hayes bumped the lead to 67-59.
However, San Bernardino scored eight points in a minute to pull even at 67. Blakes, who is going to play for Arizona State next season, scored six in the run.
“I can't even imagine how bad we'd feel if we'd lost the state tournament after leading by eight with two minutes to go,” Drewry said.