Owls lose in consolation final of annual Thanksgiving tournament

Citrus College and Moorpark competed in three matches during the Neil Edwards Classic Basketball Tournament on Nov. 29-30. (La’Mesha Simpson/Clarion)

By Cameron Wisdom & La’Mesha Simpson | Staff Writers

The men’s basketball team hosted their annual Neil Edwards Classic Basketball Tournament over the holiday break, with the home team losing two out of their three matches.
The kick off game began with the Owls making their nightmare defensive presence known to Moorpark College, getting busy forcing several turnovers that led to points on the board sending the Owls on an early 14-3 run.
“We showed glimpses of being good on defense but we can’t sustain it,” said Owls’ head coach Chris Victor after the 80-77 loss.
“It’s a 40-minute game and we must exercise the defense the entire game.”
Freshman guard Mark Williams, and sophomore guard John Roach accounted for nine of the first 14 points.
With just eight minutes to go in the first half, Moorpark relentlessly cut open the Owl’s defense, tying the game up at 20-20, but Owl’s guard #15, Bishop Hardy answered back with a three point shot putting Citrus back on top.
Moorpark again took the lead in the final minute of the first half, answered by a jumper in the lane from sophomore guard, Dominique Walker with three seconds left put the Owls’ up 41-39 at half.
Back from the half, Citrus guarded their lead, went up ahead by eight but the Raiders would not give in, breaking the lead down to two with just under seven to go.
The Owl defense went cold allowing for a number of lay ups that led to a relentless Moorpark, tying the game up at 76 with just under three minutes to go. A pair of free throws opened the door for them to take lead 78-76.
At the line, Walker made it 78-77 after hitting the second of two free throws.
Unable to recover the lead Moorpark was sent to the line making two free throws with just seconds left to give them the three point advantage.
“At the end of the game we gave them layup after layup and we have to be able to control that,” said Owl guard Dominique Walker.
“From our side, our men did a good job competing the whole time. Every possession they competed,” said Moorpark Head Coach Gerred Link.
Citrus played their second game against Orange Coast College in the consolation bracket.
The Owls were slow out of the gates in the second contest, falling behind by as many as seven points.
After taking the lead with 28-26 on six consecutively made free throws by three Owl players, Citrus never relinquished their lead.
Sophomore John Roach continued to light up the scoreboard on the second day, finishing with 20 points on 6-11 shooting.
Sophomore center Chaunce Hill dominated on the defensive end and finished with six blocks on the day.
Citrus ended the match with a 13 point lead over the Pirates with the scoreboard reading 90-77.
The win on the second day pushed the Owls into the consolation final against San Diego City College.
The match proved that slow starts are beginning to be a bad habit for Citrus, as they experienced their second one in two days.
The Owls managed to keep the game close in the final seconds despite their early struggles, but failed to capitalize on any momentum by dropping the contest 66-64.
The Owls next game is against Santa Rosa at Riverside on Dec. 10.