It’s been 49 years since the City College of San Francisco men’s basketball team had the joy of hoisting the state championship trophy. The lengthy wait came to an end Sunday.
In a thrilling, back-and-forth game, City College captured its first California Community College Athletic Association Championship since 1962 with a 83-81 victory over Citrus College at Ventura College.
UCLA-bound guard De’End Parker, a Lincoln High School product, tipped in Jonathon Williams’ missed jumper with 2.4 seconds left and to give CCSF the title.
“I told coach [Justin] Labagh, ‘If Jonathon misses, I’m going to tip the ball back in, I promise,’” Parker said.
Parker didn’t disappoint, and after Citrus’s long 3-point attempt was off the mark, the Rams rushed the court in jubilation, celebrating a feat the school has been waiting nearly half a century for.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Fred Sturdivant led the Rams with a game-high 24 points and 12 rebounds, and his blocked shot with 24 seconds left in the game set up the historical moment for City College.
“It’s a great feeling, I’m excited right now, and we got the job done,” Sturdivant said. “We kept our composure, and we did it. We did it.”
The Rams (32-1) also got a solid effort from Williams, who nearly had a triple-double, finishing with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists.
After a first half that saw the Rams, which finished the season on a 27-game winning streak after a Nov. 19. loss at Fresno City College, going into the break with a slim 38-36 lead, both teams treated spectators to a riveting second half.
Citrus (27-6) connected on nine 3-pointers in the second half, and with 13:08 left in the game, the score was knotted at 55-55.
Owls guard Lateef McMullan was lights out, as he had a team-high 23 points, including seven 3-pointers.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from McMullan and his teammate Donnel Phifer gave Citrus its biggest lead, 70-64 with over seven minutes to play.
However, the Rams bogged down and made one more play than Citrus.
“We knew that were the better and tougher team, and we had to go play for 40 minutes, and it took all 40 minutes to pull this out,” said Rams coach Labagh.
CCSF shot 45 percent for the game, and outrebounded the Owls 46-27, but it’ll be the last rebound of the game that’ll make the five-hour drive back to San Francisco a lot sweeter than last season, where CCSF fell in the championship game.
The Rams’ last state championship in 1962 ironically came against Citrus.
“So many things going through my head right now,” a smiling Labagh said. “I’m just so happy for the guys. They earned it.”
1962 The last, and only other year, City College of San Francisco won the state championship
5 Times CCSF has lost in the state championship game
32-1 CCSF’s final 2010-11 record
27 Consecutive games CCSF won to end its season
2.4 Time left on the clock when De’End Parker tipped in the eventual winning shot