By Austin Turner
With 16 seconds remaining in the third overtime period in the California Community College Athletic Association men’s basketball playoffs against Cerritos College, Riverside City College held a seemingly insurmountable four point lead.
The Tigers had just missed two free throws that could have given them the game, but with a two possession lead and little time remaining, the game seemed to be over.
However, the clock didn’t phase the Cerritos College Falcons. They quickly hit a layup and the ensuing free throw to make it a one point game.
The Tigers then hit one of two free throws to give them a two point cushion, but it wasn’t enough.
Cerritos sophomore guard Riley Hamilton, with 1.8 seconds remaining in triple overtime, delivered a 3-point shot to send the RCC Tigers home and give Cerritos the victory 76-75.
“I think we could have played defense a little better,” sophomore Rahmell Greene said “I also think rebounding would have helped us more.”
Cerritos overcame RCC with a couple of crucial offensive rebounds down the stretch which helped the Falcons complete their late rally.
Although the season came to a disappointing end, the team has a lot to be proud of this season.
“Overall I think we had a rough season,” Greene said. “We lost a few key players that could have made a difference for us and helped us this season but nonetheless we still played the role we needed to. We won 16 games and made the playoffs.”
They finished with a record of 16-11 and were champions of two in-season tournaments, the Ventura Tournament and the Riverside Holiday Classic.
Just making it to the playoffs was impressive, as the Tigers finished off the regular season winning four of their last five games to sneak into the 12th seed.
They nearly pulled off the upset against fifth-seeded Cerritos, who finished the regular season 15-5.
Cerritos will move on to face Santiago Canyon College in the third round of the CCCAA playoffs.
As for RCC, being on the wrong side of a triple overtime playoff game can be frustrating, but the players have to be pleased with how they played.
“I think we played hard and left everything on the floor. We gave it everything we had,” said Greene. “I think we can tip our hats to that.”