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SBVC (2-1) had dominated the inaugural Alvin Hunter Classic as the host college, defeating American Sports University and Compton in a convincing fashion, but the Walnut Mt. San Antonio Mounties (4-2) proved to be too tall a hill to climb as SBVC suffered their first loss of the season in the Championship final, 80-77.

SBVC had an inauspicious start to the Championship match-up, with freshman forward Octavious Booker (Memphis, TN Oakhaven) being charged with a technical foul before the game for dunking during the warm ups. SBVC’s post presence was dominant in the first half, with 12 points in the paint and 13 second chance point and limiting the Mounties to four points in the paint and seven second chance points. SBVC started to gain more control of the game half way through the first half, taking a 25-10 lead.

Even though SBVC had a double digit lead, the atmosphere felt like it was a two possession game the entire first half. The intensity level was high for both teams and their coaches. SBVC committed 13 fouls in the first half alone which limited their physical play late in the second half. Both teams would exchange basket for basket, but SBVC was able to end the half with a 10 point lead, 47-37, in spite of a 47% shooting percentage.

Within the first five minutes of the second half, SBVC had 10-4 run and led by as much as 13 points. SBVC’s offense was unable to make lay ups or free throws in the second half, and the Mounties slowly chiped away at the lead. The first tie of the game came with 11 minutes left in the game at 58-58. SBVC went on a 9-4 run after the score was tied. One of the Mounties players came off the bench to contribute 21 points in the game. Mt. San Antonio’s post presence was not a factor on defense giving up 22 points in the paint in the second half. SBVC had three starters in foul trouble in the second half which allowed the Mounties to play more aggressive than SBVC.

The Mounties gained the lead in the last four minutes of the game 69-67, and SBVC was unable to regain the lead after that. Sophomore guard Kirby Gardner (Rialto Eisenhower) made a three in the last five seconds of the game to bring SBVC within two points, 77-79. Gardner fouled a Mountie player sending him to the free throw line. He made the first free throw and missed the second. Freshman forward Xavier Jones (La Verne Lutheran) grabbed the rebound with a few seconds left and passed it to sophomore guard Chris Franklin (Gardena H.S.) and he launched a shot from half court but missed ending the game 80-77. The leading scorer for SBVC was Gardner with 19 points.

This article was written by Sharis Bratton.