The Ventura College men's basketball team clinched outright the 2020 Western State Conference North Division championship with an 89-81 victory over Moorpark Wednesday night at the Athletic Event Center. Timothy Turner had 24 points with eight rebounds and eight assists while Dayshone Henry netted 22 points with eight boards. With the win, VC (19-7, 10-0) maintains a 3-game lead on second place Hancock with two games remaining on the schedule. Tone Patton had a double-double of 12 points and 15 rebounds.
It was a close game throughout the first 20 minutes of play with both teams holding small leads for extended periods. Turner opened the contest with four free throws in the first minute of play for a 4-0 Ventura advantage. Henry followed with a pair of buckets for an 8-4 lead with 16:25 on the clock. The Raiders came back, however, and took an 11-10 edge at the 13:54 mark before Jermaine Jordan's bucket put the Pirates back in front. Moorpark then scored seven of the next nine points to make an 18-14 margin with 11:35 remaining in the first half.
VC trailed 23-18 at the 9:35 mark before going on their own 8-1 run to retake the lead. Patton scored to start the run, followed by a Turner free shot and five straight points by Dayveon Bates. MC answered with an 8-0 run to take a 32-26 lead before the Pirates closed out the half with a 10-2 run. Thomas Dangerfield hit from range and Turner scored a bucket and hit a free throw to start the run, and Davion Washington hit a big bucket with 1:02 remaining to tie the score at 34-34. Turner closed out the half with a score, making it 36-34 for the Pirates at intermission.
Moorpark came out scoring in the second half, netting the first six points of the final stanza for a 40-36 lead. Patton and Jordan then got going for VC scoring the next two buckets to close the gap. The Raiders extended their lead to six points, 46-40, with 16 minutes remaining before Donavan Williams and Turner hit consecutive 3-pointers turn things around. Ventura trailed 62-61 at the 9:05 mark of the second half when they ran off 13 unanswered points. Dangerfield started things off with a deuce and a trey, and Henry got into the act as well. After a pair of free throws and a basket by Turner, Bates connected with a two to make it 74-62 with five minutes left to play.
The Raiders kept up the fight, however, and scored 11 of the next 13 points to make it a one point game, 76-73, with two minutes remaining. But Ventura had too much down the stretch, hitting seven of eight free throws in the final minute to keep the Raiders on the wrong side of the score count.
Dangerfield hit double-figures for the Pirates with 11 points and six rebounds while Bates totaled nine points with six boards. The Pirates remain undefeated in conference play as they now look to become the first WSC North team to go undefeated in conference play since 2008.
Ventura has a bye on the next playing date. They will travel to Oxnard on Wednesday Feb. 19 before returning for their regular-season home final on Friday Feb. 21 against Cuesta.