Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Bobcats advance to regional finals

Bobcats advance to regional finals

The Saddleback men's basketball team advanced to the regional finals with an 80-74 upset of Chaffey College on Saturday night in Rancho Cucamonga.  The Bobcats will play at West Los Angeles College next Saturday for a chance to go to the California Community College Athletic Association (3C2A) State Tournament.

James Burries was the star in the second half as the Bobcats were clinging to a narrow lead.  Burries made 4-of-7 shots from beyond the arc over the second 20 minutes in scoring 20 of his game-high 27 points in the second frame. 

Saddleback led 33-27 at the intermission as Chaffey struggled at shooting from the outside.  The Bobcats took advantage as John McFadden scored 11 points while Saddleback outrebounded the Panthers 21-17 over the first 20 minutes.

Chaffey picked up the intensity on defense in the second half and came out of the locker room looking to take control.  The Panthers went on a 12-5 run to start the second half in taking their first lead since the 7:00 mark of the opening half.  Chaffey extended the lead to 51-46 with just under 11 minutes remaining as the Bobcats had a tough time handling the pressing defense.

Saddleback then regrouped and started making some shots.  Burries started the rally with a three-pointer from the left wing to cut the deficit to two.  He nailed another on the next possession as the Bobcats grabbed back the lead.

Trailing 54-52, Burries then made a dunk to tie the score with 7:53 left on the clock.  With 5:38 remaining, he then buried another three-pointer as it was starting to look as if the Bobcats could pull off the upset.  The shot gave Saddleback a 59-56 lead and Chaffey would never get even the rest of the game.  Burries' final three-pointer came a minute later to give the Bobcats an eight-point lead with 4:28 remaining on the clock.  Saddleback extended the lead to 11 in the final moments of the game after Burries nailed two free throws to ice the game.

The Saddleback defense held Chaffey to 5-of-31 shooting from three-point range on the night as the Panthers couldn't find the bottom of the net.  When they missed, the Bobcats took advantage with a 47-39 advantage on the glass.  In the end, Saddleback's free throw shooting down the stretch was the difference.  The Bobcats were 12-of-13 from the charity stripe in the second half, making their final 11.

Saddleback improved to 17-13 overall on the season with the win.  The Bobcats will now travel to West Los Angeles College next Saturday in the regional finals, with the winner advancing to the 3C2A State Tournament.

Saddleback has not reached the regional finals since the 2015-16 season when the program made it all the way to the state title game. 

UPCOMING GAME NOTES:  Saddleback and West Los Angeles met earlier in the season, with WLAC defeating the Bobcats 60-53 in the opening round of the Alvin Hunter Classic at San Bernardino Valley College.  Saddleback leads the lifetime series with West Los Angeles, 7-2.