The basketball gods can be cruel sometimes. That was certainly the case Friday night as the VC men's basketball team went on a roller coaster ride at Cerritos in the second round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs. The No. 9-seeded Pirates (21-8) went from 11 points ahead to two points down to overtime, to six points down to tied, ultimately ending in a last-second shot by the No. 8-seeded Falcons to defeat the Pirates, 77-75. Dayshone Henry paced Ventura with 31 points and nine rebounds while Tone Patton had a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards. Shulton Tobin totaled 13 points for VC in the season-ending setback.
The Pirates took the early lead on a three by Donavan Williams with an assist by Tobin. Donavan then helped a lay-up by Henry, and Henry dropped a dime for a Patton dunk and VC led 7-2 under five minutes into the game. Cerritos responded with a 15-0 run, however, and took a 17-7 lead with 10:48 remaining in the first half. Tobin and Timothy Turner hit back-to-back shots from range to end the skid, and it was a battle for the remainder of the half. The Pirates pulled back to within one, 23-22, on a Henry three with 4:56 on the clock and took a 27-25 advantage on Tobin's triple at the 1:27 mark. Tobin then hit a free throw on the next possession and Ventura led 28-25 at halftime.
Ventura maintained their small margin early in the second period until the Falcons hit from downtown to take a 38-36 edge at the 16:13 mark. Cerritos expanded the advantage to 43-37 with 14:26 on the clock. Tobin then assisted a Henry lay-up that would begin a 17-0 run over the next four minutes. Henry then turned it around, helping a Tobin 3-pointer,and Henry created his own opportunity for two and a 44-43 Pirate lead. Dayveon Bates hit a trey at the 12:38 mark and Donavan issued a dime for a Henry dunk on the next possession. Patton scored inside and Donavan hit from range to make it 54-43 for the Pirates at the 10:38 mark. Patton hit a pair of charity shots at the 8:06 mark to extend the lead to 12, 58-46, before Cerritos began a slow and steady comeback.
The Falcons scored 10 straight points between Henry free throws over a four minute span, and they tied the game at 64-64 with a 3-pointer with 1:46 on the clock. Cerritos took a brief two-point lead before Henry scored inside with 50 seconds remaining to tie the score. The Pirates had an opportunity to win the game in regulation with the final possession, but the shot sailed wide right and off the mark.
Cerritos took a six-point advantage midway through the extra period, 74-68, before Turner's triple halved the deficit. Henry made two free throws with 50 seconds left, and put in an offensive rebounds to tie the score at 75 with 13 seconds remaining. Without a timeout, the Falcons came back down the floor and hit a 15-foot jumper from the right side as time expired.
Henry had five assists, five steals and two blocked shots on the night and Tobin also handed out five dimes.
The Pirates end their season with a mark of 21-8, including a perfect 12-0 mark in Western State Conference North Division play. VC won its fifth straight conference crown and posted the first undefeated WSC North record in 12 years.