Basketball (M)

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McCoy Drops 32 Points in Sweet 16 Victory


Sophomore Robert McCoy exploded for 20 points in the second half to help lead the Knights to a 91-84 home victory over Ventura that puts them in the CCCAA state championship quarterfinals for the second straight year. McCoy tied his career-high with 32 points, brought down 10 rebounds, and blocked three shots in City's 24th consecutive win. 

Robert Taylor, who threw down an impressive left-handed dunk over a defender in the second half, had 14 points and five rebounds. Ethan Esposito added 12 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks as the Knights improved to 31-2, equaling last year's win total.

Ventura was very effective with dribble penetration in the first half and the Knights struggled to defend it. Ventura guards Jacob Alonzo and Isiah Reyes kept finding open lanes as they combined for seven of the Pirates' 11 assists in the first half. 

The Pirates led for most of the first half and took their largest lead, 49-40, with 1:10 remaining after a pair of Alonzo free throws. The Knights, however, had a strong finish to the half by scoring the final five points, including a 3-pointer from Joseph Riley just before the buzzer, to get within four points of Ventura.

The game was tied at 60-60 when McCoy started feeling it. He nailed a 3-pointer that sparked a 15-2 Knight run in a 3:22 stretch. McCoy scored 11 points during that spurt, including three 3-pointers, as the Knights took control.

Taylor's left-handed dunk gave the Knights' their biggest lead, 78-65, with 7:55 remaining. His emotions got the best of him immediately after that play and received a technical foul for taunting. 

The Pirates, who were led by Malcolm Ruff's 26 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks, had one more run in them and cut City's lead down to 89-84 with 1:48 left, but that was as close as Ventura would get. The Pirates missed a layup and a jump shot, then turned the ball over with nine seconds on the clock. 

After a foul, Riley knocked down a pair of free throws to seal the Knights' 18th straight home win. 

The Knights will now travel to Ventura College for their CCCAA quarterfinal game on Friday, March 9. As the No. 1 seed in the south region, the Knights will play Santa Rosa (25-4), the north's No. 4 seed at 1 p.m. on Friday.

The semifinals and championship will also be held at the Ventura College Athletic Event Center on Saturday and Sunday. 

Box Score