ROSAMOND — Most, if not all, the California City boys basketball players will tell you that they didn’t play their best game of the season.
But that’s the sign of a good team, winning even not at its best.
And with the victory against rival Rosamond, the Ravens completed their undefeated league season and will enter the playoffs on a high note.
Cal City outscored the Roadrunners 50-29 in the second half and cruised to an easy 84-56 victory, Tuesday night at Rosamond High School.
The Ravens (22-5, 12-0) won their 15th consecutive game and much like they have done all season against their opponents, they won the war of attrition by slowly wearing down Rosamond in the second half.
“I think we’re playing our best basketball right now. We’ve gotten a lot more players involved and it took us a while to where we could put two solid teams on the court,” Cal City head coach Ron Fleming said. “We started off slow tonight because we were stymied by the fan fare on their special night. I’m very pleased with the victory. Sometimes the last one in an undefeated season is the hardest to get.”
The Roadrunners played inspired on their Senior Night as they suited up only eight players. Rosamond matched the intensity of the Ravens and led for nearly 12 minutes in the first half.
Cal City finally broke loose with less than four minutes left in the second half as it took its first lead of the game following a bucket by Kelvin Bowen to give his team a 20-19 lead. After the Roadrunners (9-10, 6-6) led 19-16, Bowen’s bucket sparked an 11-0 run as the Ravens took a 27-19 lead. They would never trail again.
Later in the quarter, Toney Mays went on a personal 5-0 run of his own to keep Rosamond at a distance with a 32-24 lead.
“They just wore us down tonight. We were eight valiant and I’ll go to war with those eight anytime,” Roadrunners head coach Johnny Johnson said. “I thought we played well in the first half and I liked our effort, but once they went man-to-man in the second half they collapsed us. I knew coming in this would be a rough year. We took our lumps and came out with a couple of black eyes.”
After Cal City began to pull away at the end of the first half while taking a 34-26 lead into the locker room, the Ravens started where they took off and opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run to grab a 44-26 lead in the first three minutes.
As Cal City’s offense began to click, it was evident that Rosamond was beginning to get fatigued as its offense went stale. Abraham Grimes and Colby Adams were the lone offensive threats in the third as they combined to score all of the Roadrunners’ points in the quarter. The Ravens had eight different players score in the frame.
Cal City had three 3-point opportunities in the third quarter but converted only one following a circus shot by Mays. Following the made free throw, the Ravens led 51-28.
“We came out way too slow, but we finally got the momentum going. We picked up the pace after coach talked to us,” said Mays, who finished with 11 points. “In the second half our shots started falling. I’m pleased with the victory because we picked it up towards the end.”
Still the Ravens feel like they have more.
“I still don’t think we’re playing our best. I know we can play better,” said Bowen, who led the game with 15 points. “In the first quarter we didn’t play so good. It was a rough first half. Our communication got better on defense and we started shooting better and getting rebounds.”
The Ravens didn’t have their best shooting night as they finished only 7-of-27 from 3-point range.
Grimes led the Roadrunners with 13 points and Alex Cervantes and Adams finished with 11 and 10 points respectively. Cameron Jarmon added 11 points for the Ravens.
Cal City, seeking its third consecutive CIF championship, will learn its playoff fate later this week when the pairings are announced.