Basketball (M)

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Knights Take 2nd at Citrus Tourney


The Knights were back in action this weekend at the Citrus College tournament and made it to their third consecutive championship game, but fell in the closing seconds Citrus, 77-75. Ethan Esposito scored a team-high 15 points to go with seven rebounds. Robert McCoy added 14 points and five boards.

The No. 5 ranked Knights started the season by winning all three games at Knights Invitational to claim the championship and then won the first two games at the Fullerton tournament the following week, but fell to the hosts, 78-77, in the championship game. A controversial call in the final second of the game put Fullerton at the free throw line where the Hornets hit both to put them on top. 

That loss snapped City's 22-game win streak going back to last season when a 17-game streak catapulted them to a state championship victory. Their previous loss came on January 3. 

The Knights opened the Citrus tournament with an 86-58 blowout win over Los Angeles Pierce. McCoy led City with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Wonder Smith added 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. 

In the semifinal, the Knights escaped with a 64-61 win over Chaffey. McCoy put the Knights ahead for good with a clutch 3-pointer with 2:49 remaining that broke a 56-56 tie. A pair of free throws by Smith and Esposito in the final seconds were enough to secure the win. Esposito had 14 points and nine rebounds. Robert Taylor contributed 10 points and five boards. 

The tournament final was the second game of the season against Citrus. The teams also met at the Fullerton tournament where the Knights edged the Owls, 92-91. Sunday's meeting was another tight game with Citrus pulling it out, 77-75. 

Citrus' Jesse Elrod made the game-winning 3 with 12 seconds remaining. City's Wonder Smith fired a 3 of his own before the buzzer went off that would've won the game, but missed the mark as the Knights suffered their second loss. 

The Knights' two losses this season are by a combined three points to the No. 6 (Fullerton) and No. 8 (Citrus) ranked teams in the state. They're 1-1 against both teams with the losses coming on their home floors. 

The Knights will play Orange Coast College in the opening round of the Palomar tournament on Friday, November 24 at 5 p.m. 

Box Score vs. LA Pierce

Box Score vs. Chaffey
Box Score vs. Citrus