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San Mateo Daily Journal: Cañada makes statement with win over CCSF

San Mateo Daily Journal: Cañada makes statement with win over CCSF

By Terry Bernal Daily Journal            

Bill Garrett:  Freshman Crisshawn Clark was
one of five Colts to score in double-digits Friday night.
Cañada scored a statement win at City College of San Francisco Friday night. 
That statement — the Colts are now the class of the Coast Conference North.
The 105-96 victory marked the first time in over a decade Cañada has defeated CCSF. Having entered into play tied atop the Coast Conference North, the Colts (4-1 in Coast Conference North, 18-2 overall) are now all alone in first place. CCSF, Ohlone and Chabot are in a three-way tie for second.
“In a sense, we have our destiny in our own hands,” Cañada head coach Mike Reynoso said. “So, I think if we continue to do what we are capable of doing, we will be on the road to that championship.”
Eyeing a potential state championship is a lofty ambition, but a fair one after knocking off a perennial powerhouse such as CCSF (3-2, 14-7). The Rams had not lost a game in Coast Conference play for four seasons previous seasons, including a 2010-11 campaign in which they brought home the second state title in school history.
Friday’s defeat was the second in conference of the year for CCSF. Foothill snapped the Rams’ longtime winning streak Jan. 14 with a 75-72 triumph.
That didn’t detract from the excitement of Cañada’s players following Friday’s win. It was an emphatic punctuation of an epic week that started with the Colts battling Chabot to a 95-81 victory last Wednesday.
“Our guys are always excited after a win and rightfully so,” Reynoso said. “I told them in the locker room after the game, this was a great team. But I’m not super ecstatic. … I felt like we were the better team and expected to win this game.”
CCSF came ready to play though and couldn’t be stopped from the field throughout the first half. The Rams took a 59-52 lead into halftime after lighting it up from the floor.
Rams sophomore forward Julian Harrell scored a game-high 35 points, including seven 3-pointers after shooting a perfect 5 for 5 from beyond the arc in the first half.
“They just could not miss. (in the first half),” Reynoso said. “They were playing great basketball.”
As many a team throughout the California Community College Athletic Association is fast discovering though, trying to outshoot Cañada is a tall task. The high-flying Colts are currently the best offense in the state averaging 87.7 points per game. And in the second half, the they rallied back.
Three Cañada players reached the 20-point plateau in the game. Sophomores Manny Martin and Rohndell Goodwin tabbed a team-high 22 points apiece. Israel Hakim had 20 points. Freshman Crisshawn Clark added 16.
Martin also had a strong night on the boards, grabbing a team-high 10 rebounds.
“Manny played unbelievable and played like he’s capable of doing every night,” Reynoso said. “The guy who really was the spark was Brian Garrett. … He really changed the momentum in both halves.”
Garrett, a 6-4 freshman out of St. Francis, was one of five Colts to score in double-figures. He had 10 points. And with Cañada trailing by 14 in the first half, Garrett drilled a pair of 3-pointers to close the gap before halftime.
Then Cañada went on a tear to start the second half. Five minutes in the Colts took the lead and battled back-and-forth for the lead until midway through the second half when they jumped out front for good.
“It was one of those types of games where we really had to battle,” Reynoso said.
It’s the type of battle Reynoso has come to expect night-in and night-out in the Coast Conference North. In his fourth year on staff at Cañada — two as an assistant coach and now in his second season at the helm — this year’s conference makeup is the best Reynoso has ever seen, he said.
“There’s something to be said with how tough our conference is,” Reynoso said. “Any night we can lose it again. So, I tell [the players] our destiny lies in our hands with what we do, and it’s important to remember that.”
Six of the seven teams in the Coast Conference North currently boast overall records over the .500 mark. But now they are all gunning for Cañada. And Reynoso said he knows it.
“City played the best game they played all year against us and that’s out of respect to us,” Reynoso said.
Cañada entered last week ranked No. 16 in the state, but is sure to rise substantially with its defeat of No. 13 CCSF.
"We could care less about the rankings and all that, "Reynoso said. "We have a goal in sight to win our last game of the season and win a championship."


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