On a night where championship hardware was up for grabs, the Fullerton College men’s basketball team outlasted the City College of San Francisco in the California Community College Athletic Association State Championships, 85-79.
Sophomore guard and forward Lance Coleman II was named the tournament MVP as he scored 18 points to go along with nine rebounds for the Hornets. Rodrick McCobb and Ronne Readus were named to the all-tournament team.
This marks the fourth state championship in Fullerton College’s history, and the first since 2006.
“Our focus was to make sure that we stayed in character. Sometimes people get into championship games and forgot what got them there,” Webster said. “We’ve always preached that defense wins championships. We were built to win that game.”
San Francisco’s No. 1 ranking did not waver the confidence of Fullerton College who defeated North Fresno City in the semifinals to earn the right to compete on the same court as the Bulls on Sunday.
The Fullerton Hornets made that message clear as a 3-pointer by guard McCobb capped off a 7-0 run to begin to the game.
While the Bulls boasted the highest scoring offense in the league with 89 points per game average, the Hornets have demonstrated defensive prowess all season long, limiting opponents to 62.1 points per game.
It was no different during the title game as Fullerton forced San Francisco to attempt half of their field goals from 3-point range. As a result, the Bulls made 18.8 percent of their 3-point attempts in the first 20 minutes of play before compiling 10 3-pointers by the end of the night.
The Bulls were pushed out of their comfort zone in the defensive end as the 35 fouls committed were uncharacteristic of their 2.4 season average, which Fullerton College took advantage of by making 36-of-46 free throw attempts.
Every Hornets player that played in the first half scored and shot a combined 50 percent from the field compared to San Francisco’s 32.4 percent.
Backup point guard Dylan Banks led the Hornets with 9 points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field in the first half.
The Hornets’ second-half offense was spearheaded by McCobb, who scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shot attempts.
When the Hornets lost the state championship game in 2017 to San Diego City College, Webster said he was able to build upon that experience from that point on.
“I’ve just been in those situations and in those games before but I think experience is so key,” Webster said. “I gained valuable experience from losing that game two years ago. I was able to evaluate myself and see where I could’ve been better.”
Since Webster’s arrival in 2015, the Hornets’ 30 wins this season are the most the program has achieved under his supervision, and they have not lost more than eight games in a given season for the past four years.