With a full crowd in the stands and emotions flying high, the 22-4 Fresno City College Rams were ready to face an aggressive 14-12 Reedley Tigers on Wednesday, Feb 19.
Before the start of the game head coach Ed Madec addressed the crowd and shared his gratitude for winning another conference title.
“Every child that enters this program is like a child of my own,” said Madec
Now ready to take on the Tigers, the Rams played a physical game. FCC pounded the ball with absolutely no remorse, not letting the Tigers breathe on defense.
With both teams lacking foul calls and getting away with some contact on both ends of the court, the first half ended up being a test of agility and athletic condition.
Heading late into the first half, the Rams saw a 20 point lead dwindle down to 13, despite the Rams’ physical play. The Tigers answered back with a press defense of their own while maintaining a fast-paced offense.
Reedley guard Anthony Martinez was a big contributor to cutting down the 20 point lead after hitting back to back threes. The Tigers ended up taking their foot off the gas, taking a time out and shot far fewer threes to close out the lead.
The Tigers’ defense led to an uncharacteristic 19 FCC turnovers, that would turn into points for Reedley. The matchup finally reached a boiling point during the second half when sophomore guard Keshawn Bruner went up for a layup and took a hard foul. Bruner took exception to the foul and confronted the Reedley guard.
Referees were quick to get involved and separate the two players with both teams playing mediators. No technical fouls were given and both players stayed on the court.
Energy continued to radiate from the building, with a few Rams and Tigers fans letting out verbal discord with the officiating crew. With sophomore guard Eljay Gallegos trapped on the top of the key, a jump ball was called. Despite the whistle being blown, Gallegos was held by his jersey and brought down to the floor.
No technical fouls were issued on the call, the Rams still maintained possession of the ball.
With the score up by more than 30 during the second half, the atmosphere throughout the gym made the game seem as if the two teams went 12 rounds in a boxing match-up with the heavyweight title on the line.
As the clock began to trickle down to the finals seconds, Madec left his chair with a rare smile on the court, looked up for one last picture with his team and left the gym with one last team break of the word “brotherhood”.