“Is it destiny?” Yuba (and its fans) might be asking that question after tonight, as the 49ers walked into Cosumnes River College in Sacramento Saturday night, playing in their first Final Four in school history. They faced off against a tough Antelope Valley squad, and all night it was exactly that, a tough battle between two great teams searching for their first State Championships.
In the end, Yuba, riding on the backs of Deaundray Robinson, Anthony Romero, Spencer Butterfield and Cody Kale, took home the Niners’ first Final Four win, defeating Antelope Valley 79-69. They will play for their first State Championship tomorrow at 3:00pm, against Fresno City College, at Cosumnes River College.
Robinson, Romero, Butterfield and Kale all had 14 or more points, and the team as a whole shot 41% from the floor, but subpar shooting from three point range – Yuba finished 2 of 11 from outside the arc – along with several cold streaks, including one long streak at the end of the first half, allowed the Marauders to keep the game close, and swap the lead several times.
“They [Antelope Valley] were a lot better than a seven seed,” said Anthony Romero, who had 15 points on 6 of 13 from the floor. “That’s why they’re in the Final Four; they wouldn’t be here if they weren’t good.”
The Niners kept themselves in the game with solid work inside the paint in the second half, as they were constantly able to draw fouls, and they shot an impressive 77% (27-35) from the free throw line, including four in a row from Butterfield in the closing moments, to stretch their lead. The largely Yuba crowd exploded with under a minute remaining, as off of a fast break, Robinson found himself alone, and he quickly turned the moment into his own slam dunk contest, driving down an NBA Jam styled reverse dunk to put the 49ers ahead by 11.
Now the focus is on a quick turnaround, as they’ll play Fresno City College, the same team that defeated Yuba in the Sweet 16 round last year, with the State Championship on the line.