Heartbreak. Depressing. Demoralizing. And yet, even with a crushing 77-62 defeat in the finals of the California Community College Athletic Association Men’s Basketball State Championship game to Fresno City College (33-3, 12-0 CVC) on March 11 in Sacramento, the Yuba College 49ers (33-4, 11-0 BVC) are far from failures.
Team leader Spencer Butterfield contributed 8 points, 6 rebounds and went a perfect 4 for 4 from the free throw line, while Cody Kale put in 14 points on 5-12 shooting. The stifling Fresno defense held the Niners to 38% shooting from the field, while shooting 48% themselves, and was led by Alex Perez, who topped all scorers on either team with 17 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the field.
Post-game there were tons of tears and a much deflated team in the Yuba locker room.
“It’s over, you can’t be mad about it,” said Deaundray Robinson to the team. Anthony Romero was holding back tears. Kevin Crabb wiped the sweat off his face, with a long sigh of frustration and a distant stare.
Through the long season, plenty of good has come out of it – coach Doug Cornelius was given the “Coach of the Year” award for Northern California, while Spencer Butterfield was one of the three “Players of the Year,” joining Marcus Hall of Fresno City, and James Walker of Citrus College as recipients of the award.
Now, coach Cornelius gets to do one of his favorite things: recruiting. The Niners lose all but two players – Yev Dyachenko and Achoki Moikobu will be the only two returning for their sophomore year; the rest will be transferring, making over 100 student-athletes to have transferred to Division I, II or NAIA colleges after playing at Yuba.
Consider it a destiny unfulfilled.
Look for a complete season retrospective, coming in the Summer 2012 print edition of The Prospector, on the campus newsstands May 7th.