While the focus of the country will be on the unveiling of the NCAA Tournament brackets this weekend, City College of San Francisco will be trying to make history in its version of the Final Four.
Both the CCSF men’s and women’s basketball teams are competing in the California Community College Athletic Association Final Four in Ventura this weekend, and the school has high hopes of becoming the first school ever to have both its men’s and women’s teams capture state championships in the same season.
It’s the second straight season both teams have reached the Final Four.
On the men’s side, the Rams reached the Final Four by beating Santa Rosa 82-66 on Saturday at CCSF’s Wellness Center, their 26th straight victory which moved their record to 30-1.
Rams guard Collin Chiverton put on a shooting clinic in front of the home fans, scoring a season-high 41 points, including nine 3-pointers. He accounted for half his team’s points.
CCSF coach Justin Labagh expressed the excitement of reaching the Final Four, as well as Chiverton’s spectacular performance.
“It’s fun when a player can have a game like that, especially when it’s his last home game as a Ram,” Labagh said. “We’re pretty excited about reaching this point [again], but it’s an all-business week.”
Saddleback is the opponent up next for the Rams, whom they tangled with in last year’s state championship and were defeated 63-57. The matchup is Friday at 5 p.m., with the winner advancing to Sunday’s championship game at 1 p.m.
The Gauchos (27-6) are making their third straight appearance in the Final Four.
“[Saddleback] is just as good as they were last year,” Labagh said. “They’re a defensive-oriented team; they melt down the clock on offense. They like to grind it out and they don’t turn over the ball. Every possession counts in a game like this.”
The Lady Rams’ (26-5) run to the Final Four has been equally impressive as they lost four starters from last year’s team.
Boasting eight freshmen and only three sophomores, they’ve rattled off 13 victories in a row, dispatching Foothill on Saturday 87-70.
They’ve been led by freshman Janis Peterson, and Lincoln and Wallenberg High School products, respectively, freshman Hallie Meneses and sophomore Shawnte Taylor.
Women’s coach Jamie Hayes expressed the same sentiment as Labagh, as she’s thrilled to get back down to the championship round with the shot to win the first state championship in school history.
“We have a young team and they’re definitely excited about this opportunity,” Hayes said. “The girls see the opportunity to succeed and they’re very optimistic about it.”
South Cypress College (21-10) is on the horizon this Saturday at 5 p.m., for the Lady Rams.
However, the buzz going around at City College for both the men’s and women’s programs is something that Hayes noted as a great feeling.
“There is nothing but excitement around [campus],” Hayes said. “And to win the championship together with the men’s team would be a real special thing.”