Hornets march their way to the Elite 8


Sophomore guard Shaquil Bender going up for lay up at Fullerton College on Saturday March 04, 2023. Photo credit: Yasmin Sotelo

Quinn Cisneros, Staff Writer

Fullerton did just enough to squeak by San Diego City Saturday night inside The Hornets Nest to advance to the Elite 8 of the CCCAA playoffs. It was an all-around effort from the Hornets winning in a nail biter, 77-74.

The Hornets were led by freshman guard Sean Newman Jr., who totaled 17 points while also dishing out four assists. It wasn’t an ordinary start for Newman Jr. as he dealt with foul trouble in the first half and only had six points. Newman Jr. certainly picked it up in the second half scoring 11 points and converting a huge “And-1” that had the crowd on their feet.

Freshman guard Sean Newman Jr. goes for two in the lane on Saturday March 4, 2023, against San Diego City at the Hornets Nest.
Freshman guard Sean Newman Jr. goes for two in the lane on Saturday March 4, 2023, against San Diego City at the Hornets Nest. Photo credit: Gerardo Chagolla

“My body language was pretty bad the whole game, my teammates uplifted me. I give credit to them and my coaches. In the first half I was playing off one foot, getting my shot blocked, and turning the ball over,” Newman said. “I just made the adjustment to play off two feet and try to listen to my teammates and coaches.”

The game was a rematch between the two teams which occurred on Dec. 8th in the 36th Annual Fullerton College Classic with the Hornets defeating the Knights 97-84. Since then, both teams came into the game on massive winnings streaks.

The Hornets got off to what seemed to be another slow start offensively. The most concerning aspect was the three-point shooting which the Hornets had been spectacular at all year. The Hornets shot 2-7 from three but were able to hit 52% of their two-point attempts. The Hornets used a 9-2 run to jump ahead of the Knights entering halftime, 38-35.

The Hornets played great defense to be able to stay in the game in the first half, holding the Knights to just 42.9% from the field. They were also able to hold the Knights leading scorer freshman guard Al Green to just six points.

Sophomore forward Javon Jones came up huge for the Hornets off the bench scoring 11 points in the first half and totaling 14 points for the game. Jones really kept the energy up for the Hornets while multiple Hornets players struggled with foul trouble early on.

Sophomore Guard/Forward Javon Jones shooting for 2 point against San Diego City College at Fullerton on Sat. 04, 2023
Sophomore forward Javon Jones shooting and making a floater against San Diego City College at Fullerton on Saturday March 4, 2023. Photo credit: Yasmin Sotelo

“When Javon started, he took a couple of bad shots. But he got it together and hit some big ones for us. He’s done that for us all year, Javon deserves everything that happens to him. He works, he’s a great teammate, great kid, and great citizen,” Head Coach Perry Webster said.

When the second half kicked off, Hornets sophomore guard Shaquil Bender splashed a three followed by two blocks from Hornets sophomore center Sammy Howlin. The Knights (24-6) could’ve easily let the Hornets go on a run, but they would not shy away. Green would soon wake up and score 13 points in the second half, hitting multiple big buckets to keep the Knights in it.

It was a game that saw nine ties and ten lead changes. Newman Jr. came up big for the Hornets (29-1) down the stretch where he hit a huge bank shot three with the shot clock winding down with around two minutes remaining in the game to put the Hornets up 75-69.

Freshmen Forward Jeremiah Davis shooting for 3 point against San Diego City College at Fullerton on Sat. 04, 2023
Freshman guard Jeremiah Davis shooting from the three-point arc over sophomore forward Anjay Cortez against San Diego City College at Fullerton onSaturday March 4, 2023. Photo credit: Yasmin Sotelo

In the final 20 seconds, Hornets freshman guard Jeremiah Davis hit just one of his two free throw attempts to keep the Hornets lead at one possession, 77-74. The Hornets would foul Green smartly with 2.8 seconds left to prevent a potential game tying three-point attempt. He would miss the first free throw of his one and one. Davis secured the rebound and ran out the clock ending the game.

Newman Jr. played in his last home game as a Hornet as he soon looks to play Division 1 basketball next season. For him it was always a memorable time at the “Nest.”

“So many memories… I can say one thing, a lot of wins. I don’t think I lost a game here,” Newman Jr. said.

The Hornets had two other guys reach the double-digit mark, Bender and Davis scored 12 points in the win. Webster gave huge credit to Howlin for his defensive efforts grabbing seven boards, two blocks, and a steal.

The Knights were led by Green who scored a game high 19 points, with sophomore forward Anjay Cortez scoring 14 points of his own in the loss.

The Hornets carry their impressive 22 game winning streak into the Elite 8 of the CCCAA Playoffs where they will now go up against the West Valley Vikings (26-4) of Saratoga, CA on March 9th at 3 p.m. at West Hills College in Lemoore, CA.