By Jeremy Gonzalez, Sports Editor
The Toros men’s and women’s basketball teams showed resilience as both emerged victorious in their conference openers at home on Thursday night against the San Francisco State Gators, with the women winning 97-92 and the men winning 66-63.
Both CCAA contests proved to be nail-biters as the women’s game needed overtime to declare a winner and the men’s game went down to the final possession of regulation.
In the women’s game, the Toros trailed by as much as nine points in the second half before battling back to close the gap to three points in the final 45 seconds of regulation. With 10 seconds left, senior Destinee Williams drained a 3-pointer to tie the game 83-83 and sent it into overtime.
Ahlisha Henderson and Janelle Sumilong led the Toros to victory in overtime and helped secure the team’s fourth straight win to bring their overall record to 4-1. The Toros had five players in double figures including Gabrielle Leos (18), Lea Anderson (15), Williams (15), Sumilong (14) and Henderson (11).
The men’s matchup followed the women’s and lived up to the billing of the first game. The Gators and Toros were an even matchup as it ended up being a back-and-forth affair that saw both teams exchanging baskets throughout the game. Neither team led by more than seven points and there were a total of 13 lead changes in the entire game.
The Toros led 36-31 at halftime but found themselves down by as many as five in the second half. The Toros battled back and senior Andrew Whitsett threw down a dunk with 1:37 left to play to give the Toros a 66-61 lead.
After a layup cut the deficit to three, the Gators had an opportunity to tie in the game’s final possession with four seconds remaining but Toros freshman Jordan Hilstock blocked the game-tying three-point attempt to preserve the 66-63 victory. With the win, the Toros move to 3-2 overall while remaining undefeated in the Torodome.
The Toros had four players in double figures, led by junior Colten Kresl’s 16 points. Kresl also shot 50 percent from behind the arc against the Gators.
“Our guys grinded out a tough game,” Toros assistant coach Sam Stapleton said. “We still have a long way to go with conference play starting early, but you can’t get these games back so its good to get one on the board now.”
Both teams will travel up north for another conference matchup against Stanislaus State on Saturday Nov. 23. The Stanislaus State women’s basketball team (2-3 overall, 1-0 CCAA) are coming off a 71-66 victory over Chico State. Their men’s basketball team is undefeated at 4-0 and are also coming off a 74-66 victory over Chico State.
The women’s game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tip-off and the men’s game begins afterwards with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.