The #8 Hornets opened up their 2017-18 campaign this weekend at the San Diego City College Tournament and played in the title game against the #1 team in the state.
On Friday, Fullerton began the tourney with a matchup against San Diego Mesa and handled the Olympians 86-69. Freshman Akil Reese led all scorers putting up 26 points. He also added 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Sophomore Jason Richardson scored 14 points, had 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Sophomore Nigel Carter scored 13 points and had 4 steals.
Saturday night was a shootout against #19 Citrus College. The Hornets were in a hole against the Owls by the end of the first half by 15 points, but they fought back to win the game 79-72. Richardson put the team on his back scoring a game-high 32 points with 4 steals and 3 assists. Sophomore Khalil Stevenson dropped in 17 points, brought, down 8 rebounds, and had 5 assists. Freshman Vaj Rice helped out with 15 points and 7 rebounds.
A repeat of last season's state championship game, the Hornets and #1 Knights met for the tournament's title game. The Hornets fell 70-63 but not without a fight. The first half was relatively close as both teams exchanged shots. By the break, SD City held a 29-25 lead. The Hornets took a 32-31 lead at the 17 minute mark when Richardson drove to the basket for a layup, but the Knight's Wonder Smith answered back retaking the lead with a three-point shot. San Diego City separated themselves grabbing their largest lead of the game 50-37 with just over 11 minutes left to play. Fullerton made a push getting within 6 points in the last minute and a half, but last year's champs had too much firepower holding on for the win and tournament title.
2017 Knights Invitational All-Tournament Team
Armstrong Ojunkwu (San Diego Mesa)
Jeremy Smith (Citrus)
Jason Richardson (Fullerton)
Khalil Stevenson (Fullerton)
Luis Salgado (SDCC)
Wonder Smith (SDCC)
Robert McCoy (SDCC) - MVP
Up Next: Fullerton (2-1 overall) will host the 34th Fullerton College Classic Tournament this coming week with games beginning on Wednesday, November 8th through Saturday, November 11th. The Hornets will open the tourney against Chaffey College on Wednesday at 7:00 pm.