Peninsula Powers Face Off


California has always been a mecca for athletics, consistently showcasing some of the most dominant highschool, NCAA, and professional teams in the entire nation. Junior college athletics are no stranger to these high levels of competition, especially on the hardwood. City College of San Francisco and Foothill College’s battle on Wednesday night was a classic display of competitiveness and skill that makes California basketball so elite. 

The CCSF Rams have been a California Powerhouse in recent years, sending at least 3 players to the next level every season since 2003. Head Coach Justin Labagh has accumulated a record of 518-61 on his way to 4 California State Championships, 2 state runner up finishes, and 17 Central Conference Championships. The Rams came into the season riding a 32-1 season that they ended by raising the State Championship trophy. Labagh, who has been named California coach of the year 10 times, has a squad full of talented players with determination to get to the highest levels of the game. Unlike many other coaches in his profession, Labagh has rare wisdom acquired from developing Delon Wright during the 2 years Delon spent playing at CCSF. Wright Transferred to Utah, where he was the star of 2 consecutive NCAA tournament runs on his way to being a 1st round NBA Draft pick. Current Rams will do their best to prove why they should be the next in line against the Foothill owls squad in a matchup that heavily favors the Rams. 

Foothill College’s squad is hungry to prove why they belong in the same conversation as great players such as Delon Wright. Foothill doesn’t have a 1st round pick to boast, but they do have a lengthy list of players who have moved on to a variety of NCAA basketball programs. While they are 11-11 on the season so far, this squad shows up to compete no matter who the opponent is and plays together as a unit. Head Coach Mike Reynoso believes that his team must work together on defense to make up for the lack of size needed to guard some of CCSF’s players 1v1. Reynoso knows Durrell Laury will need to avoid foul trouble and continue to carry some of the offensive load in order to have a chance at upsetting CCSF. City tends to attract decent crowds who love to get the Rams squad hyped at their home court, so limiting explosive plays was Reynoso’s final key to the game on Wednesday Night.

When the final buzzer sounded on Wednesday night in San Francisco, the game hadn’t played out exactly how Reynoso and the Owls had hoped. Durrell Laury only accounted for 8 points as the Rams made it a priority to slow him down as much as possible. Alijah Washington dropped 27 points with Jaylin Leslie adding 16 of his own in an effort to upset CCSF which ultimately ended in a 94-74 win for city. The Owls played CCSF closely going into the half, only trailing by 12 points during the 1st half of play. During the final minute of the 1st half, CCSF’s CJ Hardy took flight and slammed a dunk that received a standing ovation from their entire bench and the entire crowd, giving CCSF strong momentum heading into the locker room for halftime. 

CCSF came out of the locker room energized and ready to pull away from the Owls. The Rams proceeded to extend their lead from 12 to 20 and attempted multiple flashy dunks that enticed the eager crowd. The Owls struggled to score as consistently as they had in the 1st half and seemed to fall victim to the numbers game. Foothill only had 7 members of the team available for the game on Wednesday Night while CCSF had 13 players see minutes on the floor. The Owls battled to the end and walked away with both mistakes to learn from as well as positives to build on for the remainder of their season. With the spirit they displayed and the leadership of their coach, the Owls are sure to find their stride soon.