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Solano hoops teams get home sweep of Mendocino

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From page B7 | January 11, 2013 |

Solano vs. Mendocino mens basketball

Solano's James Givens draws the foul against the Mendocino defense during their game Thursday in Fairfield. (Conner Jay/Daily Republic)

ROCKVILLE — A strong offensive attack and a whole lot of heart carried the Solano Community College men’s basketball team to a 76-72 victory over Bay Valley Conference foe Mendocino College at Solano Gym Thursday night.

It was the second straight win for the Falcons (8-8, 2-2 BVC) and the second straight grind-it-out victory for a team that is finding ways to win.

After a rocky start at home – two straight losses by a combined 41 points – Solano is starting to find an identity and its stroke.

The Falcons shot 41.5 percent from the floor Thursday, despite facing an Eagles team that was bigger, faster and more athletic.

“I’m really excited. The guys, I think they deserve it,” said Solano coach John Nagle. “We started out not playing well at home, and we had a rough start to conference, but to win two in a row and establish how we want to play at home is exciting.”

The Falcons did it with a complete team effort, as Nagle got all but two players into the game and of those who played, none scored fewer than five points.

After battling over the lead early, Mendocino built a 29-22 advantage with 9 minutes left in the first half, capping the run with a Kevin Charles 3-pointer. He led all scorers with 25 points on the night.

The Falcons responded with a 7-0 run to claim a short-lived 34-33 lead before heading into intermission down 40-38.

In the second half, Mike Stockton and Mike McKinney took over for Solano, putting up eight and nine points, respectively, in the final 20 minutes. They both finished with a team-high 14.

The results were particularly encouraging for McKinney, a Fairfield High graduate, who has battled injuries in his time at Solano, and he’s put up 23 points in the last two games.

“I’m really happy for him, he’s been patient, he’s fought through some adversity with his body and he’s responding how he wants to, and I’m just proud of him,” Nagle said.

Jacob Keys added 11 points for Solano and James Givens scored 10.

The Falcons opened the second half on an 8-2 run and stretched the lead to 71-62 with 4:51 to play on a Givens 3-pointer.

Solid defense and 21 Mendocino turnovers helped keep the game under control.

“I think just a credit to the players. They’re just buying in and playing for each other and they understand it takes effort and play after play and relentless intensity and they’ve just been providing that individually and collectively, so a tribute to them,” Nagle said. “They just decided that they wanted it and you see the result.”

SCC women get third straight home victory

ROCKVILLE — After a dismal start to its home schedule last month, the Solano Community College women’s basketball team is on a bit of a roll.

The Falcons (6-8, 3-1 BVC) won their third straight home game Thursday night with a convincing 64-58 decision over visiting Mendocino College in Bay Valley Conference action.

The Eagles came in with the best overall record in the conference and at times looked like they might run away with it.

Solano took the momentum built in Tuesday’s double-overtime win over Napa Valley and held on through the first half, trailing 35-34 at the break.

“That was a really good win. To come off Tuesday’s real emotional victory and turn right back around and have to play what . . . may be the favorite in the conference,” Solano coach Matt Borchert said. “They came in winning five in a row, they were very excited about the team they have, very excited about their season. Coming in having the best non-conference record of all the teams in the conference – not the best schedule – with a lot of confidence.”

After halftime, the Falcons’ defense went to work, shutting out all but one Eagles player until the final minute of play.

“Again (there were) tough matchups, they’re basically all guards, so that changes our team a little bit,” Borchert said. “So to pull that out and play the kind of defense in the second half that we did, I’m just ecstatic.”

Riding superior rebounding and respectable shooting, Solano built a 10-point lead on a Cheyenne Shepherd putback to make it 57-47 with 5 minutes, 35 seconds to play.

A 3-point play from Ariel Clay and a Necole White jumper ran the lead to 15, the biggest of the night, with 3:28 to go.

From there Mendocino’s shooters continued to struggle.

Elisa Vargas scored 17 of the Eagles’ 23 second-half points. The other six came on a pair of 3-pointers by Cara Watts, the last of which went up at the final horn.

For Solano, Taylor Hamilton had another spectacular night, making shots when there was no apparent opening and running the Falcons’ offense. She finished with 22 points.

Clay added 11 with a game-high 13 rebounds.

Shepherd scored 10 points, White had nine and Kristina Kountouris pulled down nine rebounds.

“Cheyenne played really well today, Necole White, I thought was phenomenal too, she really gave us a big spark,” Borchert said. “T-Ham was just over the top. She was MVP of the conference tonight, she was that good.”

Both Falcons teams head to Pittsburg to face Los Medanos on Saturday. the women play at 1 p.m. and the men at 3 p.m.

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