Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Davis catches fire late and propels Hornets to 3C2A Final Four

Fullerton College had some rough patches offensively as a team in the first half, but they found their groove in crunch time to pull out the victory.
Matthew Gonzalez
Hornets sophomore guard Jeremiah Davis looks to dribble past his defender to create offense for his team on Friday March 15, 2024.

Jeremiah Davis will be playing at the next level in 2025, but in the meantime, the sophomore guard is focusing on bringing the Hornets home a 3C2A state title in back-to-back seasons. This is something that has not been done in school history and has not been done in the 3C2A since Rancho Santiago College (now a school district) did it in 1990 and 1991. Though he struggled offensively in the first half, his energy and tenacity diving for loose basketballs proved he was willing to do whatever it takes to win for this team. Fullerton did just that, beating Cabrillo 78-67 Friday night at Mt. San Antonio College.

“I got to play like it’s my last,” said Davis. “This is my sophomore year, first game [at the state tournament] so not trying to go home early. I got to set the tone.”

The tone is exactly what Davis set on the defensive end of the floor. The one-time OEC Defensive Player of the Year had multiple deflections in the early moments of this game. That suffocating defense from Fullerton was on full display right from the tip off.

Around the 16:30 mark in the first half, Davis went full extension, diving for a free ball to gain the Hornets an extra possession. He got there, floor burns and all, and pushed the ball ahead to sophomore guard Amound Anderson II from the ground, who had a breakaway layup to put the Hornets up 7-2.

Hornet sophomore guard Amound Anderson ll loads up to shoot a key three pointer against Cabrillo College on Friday March 15, 2024. (Matthew Gonzalez )

Davis’s fellow returner, and sophomore guard RJ Banks, drew a charge on the very next possession. Two big time hustle plays, where Davis and Banks put their bodies on the line to show how important winning this title is to them. Those are  two of the three players on the roster that have been through this type of situation.

On the flip side, lacking the experience of being a reigning state champion was Cabrillo, who looked shell shocked in the early stages of the game. They missed their first eight shots, six of which were 3-pointers. The Hornets made the Seahawks look very uncomfortable, forcing them to settle for long shots and their offense to look unorganized.

Though it looked lopsided early, fans had a feeling there has to be a reason this team made it this far. Cabrillo (25-6) had just upset City College of San Francisco on the road to get to Mt. SAC, and once freshman forward Quentin Henry hit the team’s first jumper against Fullerton, that reason became a lot more clear.

Cabrillo looked like a new team, as they started to assert dominance. First, a key block by sophomore guard Amare Ames turned into a made 3-pointer for himself on the other end.

Then, after another Ames layup, Fullerton was forced to call timeout as Cabrillo’s 8-0 run brought them back into the game, now trailing 13-12 with 11:33 left in the first half.

With five lead changes and three ties to close out the half, the Hornets found themselves down 30-29 at the break. This is the first time Fullerton had trailed at half time since Jan. 17 at home against Saddleback.

In that game, the Hornets (27-4) came out firing on all cylinders and outscored Saddleback by 27 points in the second half. This was a different kind of opponent in Cabrillo, but it gave an indicator that the Hornets would be ready to go in the second half. The coaches’ half time message was simple according to Davis.

“First game jitters, get them out of the way first half,” said Davis. “Second half, play Fullerton basketball. Grab boards, get a stop and play defense. Just do that.”

The Hornets fired out of the locker room, opening up on a 13-5 run sparked by freshman guard and OEC MVP Christian Watson getting to the rim and Davis finding his shot. That put Fullerton up nine with 16 minutes to go.

Hornets floor general Christian Watson attacks the lane attempting to add onto his scoring total against the Seahawks on Friday March 15, 2024. (Matthew Gonzalez )

Watson was steady all night, scoring a game high 20 points, while also providing three amazing defensive blocks and nine rebounds. But it was the emergence of Davis in the second half that seemed to help push the Hornets back in front.

“Jeremiah is a great player, sometimes he thinks too much. He’s just got to go out there and let it rip,” said Fullerton College head coach Perry Webster.

Davis scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, adding seven rebounds and a steal. Freshman forward JQ Strong provided crucial baskets down the stretch as well, finishing with 15 points. Banks chipped in 12 as well, including two dagger 3-pointers in the final two minutes to ice the game.

For the Seahawks, sophomore guard Darius Best led them in scoring with 18 points, while Henry added 13 points off the bench in the loss.

The Hornets move on to the 3C2A Final Four as the last remaining team representing Southern California. They will have less than 24 hours to get ready to face College of the Sequoias (26-5), who knocked off West LA College 73-71 in their Quarterfinal game before Fullerton took the floor. The Final Four matchup will be played at Mt. SAC on Saturday, March 16 at 7 p.m.

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About the Contributors
Jake Rhodes, Editor-in-Chief
Jake Rhodes is the Editor-in-Chief for The Hornet Newspaper. He has been on The Hornet Newspaper for four semesters. He is a seven-time award winning journalist. He has received second place in Sports Game Story as well as Meritorious recognition in Enterprise News Story/Series for an investigation into Title IX concerns at Fullerton College from JACC. Jake is also a national CMA Pinnacle award winner, receiving first place in Sports Multimedia Story, second place in Sports Investigative Story, and Honorable Mention for Sports Game Story. He has also received an honorable mention as producer of Around the Hornet for Audio Podcast and a third place finish as a contributor for Audio Podcast from JACC. While he has served as EIC, Jake is responsible for The Hornet securing an ACP Online Pacemaker award, which has been referred to as the "Pulitzer of college media." The Hornet has also been recognized for "General Excellence: Online News Site" by JACC in both semesters Jake has served as EIC. He was also elected to be the new JACC SoCal Student Representative for all JACC members in Southern California for 2024-2025. Outside of The Hornet, Jake is an assistant coach with the Varsity Boys' basketball team at Fullerton Union High School and is also a bartender at Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ. His end goal in Journalism is to be a beat writer for an MLB or NBA team or a sportscaster. Jake enjoys spending time with his wife Alexis, daughters Samantha, Madison, and dog Cocoa.
Matthew Gonzalez, Staff Photographer
Matthew Gonzalez is a third semester staff photographer for The Hornet. Aside from being a staff reporter, he is also into sports photography. Matthew's passion in sports comes from watching and covering football, soccer, and basketball. During his free time he enjoys working out or listening to music. He is a huge Taylor Swift lover. Matthew plans on transferring to Cal State Northridge next fall to get a bachelors degree in Journalism.  His end goal is to work for a newspaper company.

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