Knight’s men’s hoops headed to the Elite 8

Gabe Rivera, Sports Editor

Celia Jimenez
Coach Mitch Charles celebrates as the Knights are in the state quarter-finals on March 4 at Harry West Gym.

The San Diego City College Knights men’s basketball team’s historic season continued Saturday, March 4, as they dismantled the Riverside City College Tigers 113-81 to advance to the state championship quarterfinals for the first time since 2009.

The contest started as competitive as was expected but after the game was tied at 21, PCAC South Player of the Year, Knights sophomore point guard, Darien McClain lit Harry West Gym up like never before, hitting four 3-pointers in a three minute span, and six in the first half alone, which put the Knights up for good. McClain finished the game with an absurd 39 points on 13-of-18 from the field, including 8-of-10 3-pointers and adding four assists, two steals and zero turnovers.

What is it that is making it so hard for McClain to miss?

“Our coaching staff,’’ McClain exclaimed. “Got the best trainers in the world, Coach Scott, Coach Mitch, everybody has confidence in me, so it’s just coming to me,” explained McClain.

Knight’s freshman guard, Wonder Smith was the perfect complement to McClain, adding three more 3-pointers on 4-of -9 shooting for 13 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Knight’s sophomore guard, Jahmere Mitchell added 12 points and sophomore guard, Marcus Brumsey scored 16 points, with five assists and two steals. Sophomore center Alex Wilbourn went unblemished from the field for nine points.

Knight’s freshman forward, Robert McCoy once again provided the punch coming off the bench for 15 points, six rebounds, two steals, and one block.

The Knights were simply unstoppable, shooting 59.4 percent from the field for the game, while also hitting a season high 12 3-pointers for their 14th consecutive win. Riverside was led by Brandon Thomas’ 22 points and the Tigers shot 49.2 percent but it wasn’t enough to keep up with San Diego.  The Knights turned 18 Tigers turnovers into 27 points and outscored Riverside 11-0 on second chance points.

“Shoot. I’m excited. Our guys played hard, they played well,” said an exuberant Knight’s Head Coach, Mitch Charlens on how he feels about his team representing San Diego in the “Elite 8”.

The road to a state championship won’t be easy.  The state quarterfinals will be played at Las Positas College in Livermore, Calif. beginning March 9. The “Elite 8” consists of the states last eight teams left. Four schools from southern California and four schools from northern California remain to compete for the rights to the state championship.

The Knights (28-5) will be pitted against the Yuba College 49ers (28-2) on Thursday, March 9 at 7 p.m. Yuba is led by freshman guard, Jo’sef Zamora’s 18.3 points per game and sophomore guard, Barry Ogalue’s 17.9 points per game. The 49ers shoot 51.3 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point land while dishing out 18.7 assists per game, giving the Knights defense a huge task Thursday night.

If you’re not able to make the trip to Las Positas, you can follow the live stats at the CCCAA website.