The VC men's basketball team trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half, and faced a six point deficit with 5:26 remaining in the game before coming back to defeat Moorpark 70-65 on barbeque night at the Athletic Event Center. John Williams had a monster night with 19 points, 15 rebounds and five assists to lead the Pirates while Isiah Reyes came in with 16 points and four dimes. The win capped a night on which Ventura College honored the 1987 CCCAA State Champions, many of whom came back for a special pre-game ceremony.
VC jumped out to a 9-4 lead early with Williams carrying the load, scoring seven points on a pair of inside jumpers and a three. Reyes answered a Raider 3-pointer with his own long range bomb, and Jacob Alonzo also hit from downtown for a 15-8 Ventura advantage with 14:19 left in the first half. The Pirate offense went cold at that point, going nearly nine minutes without a point. Moorpark scored 17 straight points during the drought, taking a 25-15 lead with 6:20 on the clock. Dondre Watson ended the skid for the Pirates with a deuce on the next possession, then Jacob Berry scored off an assist by Williams. After three free throws by the Raiders over two possessions, Williams netted a field goal then Reyes hit a three to close the Pirates back to within 28-24 at the 3:29 mark. VC trailed at halftime 32-28.
The teams traded buckets to begin the second half before Williams nailed two charity tosses to pull VC to within one, 36-35. At the 16:18 mark, Reyes hit again from behind the arc to put the Pirates back ahead 40-38. Moorpark countered with an 11-1 run over the next five minutes of play, holding a 49-41 advantage with 11:38 remaining in the game. Malcolm Ruff hit two charity shots to start another Ventura comeback, and Reyes connected for a 3-point play, Williams scored a field goal and Alonzo made a putback from an offensive rebound to pull the Pirates back to within 53-52 at the 8:20 mark. Alonzo then assisted another lay-up by Berry and Ventura went back ahead with 7:32 on the clock.
The Raiders answered with another run, scoring the next seven points to give MC a 60-54 advantage with 5:26 remaining. The teams then went nearly two minutes without scoring before Isaac Ramirez drained a three from the right corner off a pass by Williams at the 3:47 mark. Williams made one of two free throws on the next possession, then Reyes drained his fourth triple of the night for a 61-60 Pirate lead. Williams converted an offensive board with 1:05 left for a three-point advantage before the raiders hit from range quickly on their next try to tie the score at 63. Ramirez countered with another trey, and Williams recorded a steal on the next Moorpark possession, hitting one of two free shots for a four-point VC advantage.
With 12 seconds left, Moorpark scored in the paint to trim the lead to 67-65. The Pirates got a break away on the ensuing inbounds play from the back court, but missed a game-clinching dunk. In the commotion that followed, Moorpark drove back down the court, only to turn the ball over, and receive a technical foul. Alonzo calmly nailed the two free throws with one second left, then the Raiders fouled on the inbounds pass, and Reyes made another free shot for the 70-65 final score.
Alonzo finished the game with 12 points, eight steals, six assists and four rebounds while Ruff pulled down six boards.
With the victory, the Pirates remained in a first place tie with Allan Hancock College atop the Western State Conference North Division standings.
VC will travel to Oxnard College on Wednesday Feb. 14 before returning home for the regular season finale against Santa Barbara on Saturday Feb. 17. Both games are scheduled to tip-off at 7:00 pm.
Members of the 1987 CCCAA State Champions, the coaching staff, support staff and administration before Saturday's game against Moorpark.