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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Hornets are back in the state’s Elite 8

Fullerton locked down Mt. San Jacinto College, who came into the game as the highest scoring team in California. The Hornets are primed to make a run at back-to-back state titles.
Danielle Rivera
Sophomore RJ Banks becomes the leading scorer of the game as he leads his team into another 3C2A Quarterfinal at the home game against the Eagles on Saturday, March 9.

The captain is a role reserved for the leader of a team. Captaincy is not always given to the top scorer, but it is traditionally given to someone that is always there for their team in crucial times and represents their team in a favorable way. Fullerton College sophomore guard and captain RJ Banks was both a team leader and a top scorer Saturday night, as his Hornets obliterated Mt. San Jacinto 92-69 inside a loud and crowded Hornets Nest.

With 28 points on seven made 3-pointers, Banks again amazed the fans in the stands and showed up for the team when he was needed the most. “RJ Banks has been a leader for this program for three years,” said Hornets head coach Perry Webster. “He just brings such great energy and I am so happy to be able to coach him.”

Hornet head coach Perry Webster remains serious throughout the game although his team had a big lead most of the game against MSJC. (Danielle Rivera)

Fullerton (26-4) struggled during the first five minutes to find their footing offensively. They were also allowing Eagles sophomore guard BJ Brown to get going, as he led in the scoring department with eight points for the visitors, which kept the teams neck-and-neck early in the game.

Webster then made some moves with his rotation, sitting down sophomore forward Jerehmiah Davis, sophomore guard Amound Anderson II, freshman guard Christian Watson and freshman forward JQ Strong. With new guys such as sophomore guard Jaden Byers and freshman forward Shawn Woodson into the game, The Hornets instantly began taking control of the game after this adjustment around the 13-minute mark.

The Eagles still hung around, as sophomore guard Isiah Shirley grabbed a defensive rebound that immediately transitioned into a made 3-pointer from sophomore guard Dasean Stevens.

However, the Hornets responded quickly, by opening up a double digit lead following a Woodson 3-pointer and a made layup, assisted by sophomore forward Alex Archer.

Around the 10-minute mark, Banks re-entered the game. It took him less than two minutes to get his first six points on two shots.

“Obviously, I scored a lot of points, which is cool and all, but all I was really focused on was the win,” said Banks. “I just wanted to come out here and do everything that I had to do for my team.”

Keeping his momentum, and with the help of Watson and Anderson, Banks pushed Fullerton’s lead up to 20. Hornet fans in the stands became louder as the first half came to an end with a score of 56-34.

To start the second half, the Hornets got back to their usual defensive play style, as Davis and Watson grabbed rebounds after two tough possessions for the Eagles (27-4).

Archer contributed to the scoring as he made a layup and then led the way for Banks to bury another 3-pointer. Then, Byers scored another layup which forced Eagles head coach Trent Skinner to call for a timeout.

The MSJC timeout proved ineffective, as Watson and Banks pushed the Hornets lead up to 30 points around the 8-minute mark. After another splashed 3-pointer by Banks, the crowd screamed from all corners of the gym.

Hornets’ Sophomore Jeremiah Davis listens to instruction during a timeout. He scored 18 points in the win. (Danielle Rivera)

The game became more aggressive from that point, as right after the shot, Stevens flung Banks to the ground after they bumped into each other, resulting in a technical foul.

“Once a lot of dudes are out there competing, it is going to get highly emotional and it is going to get highly competitive,” said Banks. “Honestly, that makes it a lot more fun.”

Though the Eagles made a little run at the end of the game, it was not enough to catch the Hornets, with Webster even celebrating the win with one minute left on the clock.

“I just kind of feel like we are where we should be, in a chance to go and compete in a state tournament. This is where we think our program belongs and we are happy to be there,” said Webster.

The Hornets will face the Cabrillo Seahawks (25-5) in the Elite 8 of state championship weekend on Friday, March 15 at 7 p.m. at Mt. San Antonio College, where all games March 15-17 will be held.

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About the Contributor
Pedro Saravia
Pedro Saravia, News Editor
Pedro Saravia is the News Desk Editor for The Hornet Newspaper. He previously wrote for Inside Fullerton magazine. Pedro is a five-time award winning journalist. He received Meritorious recognition from JACC and second place for Sports Investigative Story from CMA for his work investigating Title IX issues at Fullerton College. Pedro has also won second place in Profile, second place in Photo Illustration and an honorable mention in Audio Podcast from JACC. Pedro enjoys going to the gym, playing and watching soccer, and hanging with his brother. He aspires to be a politics and sports reporter.

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