Wildcats experience thrill and chill


You can’t say you weren’t entertained by what transpired at Chico State’s Acker Gymnasium on both Friday and Saturday nights. It was competitive college athletics at its finest.

After a porous performance by the Chico State women’s basketball team on Friday night, the women responded on Saturday with a spirited performance on senior night to knock off the regular season champion Cal Poly Pomona Broncos 63-61. Chico would find ways to win this game despite a 30-point performance from Pomona’s Jada Blackwell. The Wildcat women enter this week’s conference tournament having beaten the Broncos twice during the regular season.

Courtney Hamilton drills this three-pointer to give Chico a 17-10 lead early in the first half

Annie Ward’s three gives the Cats the lead 44-42

In this final sequence the Wildcat women were clinging to a three-point lead and Pomona was preparing for a final shot to try to tie the game

The Chico State women head to the CCAA Tournament with an 18-8 record and a first round bye in the tourney. Chico will play their first post-season game on Friday night at 8:05pm against the winner of the Cal State East Bay and Cal State Dominguez Hills game. Regardless of how the women do in conference tournament the big prize would be their inclusion in the NCAA Tournament field. Chico is ranked 5th in the West Region in the latest poll with the top eight teams getting into the 64 team field.

The Chico State men were being showered with love as they headed to the locker room at halftime of their Saturday night match-up with Cal Poly Pomona. The Cats jumped on the Broncos with an amazing first half shooting performance, knocking down 8-of-14 from deep to grab a 39-21 halftime lead.

Giordano Estrada with a three to stretch Chico’s lead to eleven

Rashad Parker hits the Wildcats 8th three pointer of the first half

The game would change dramatically in the second half. Pomona opened the second stanza on a 22-7 run over the first 6:16 of the half to cut Chico’s lead down to three.  The Broncos employed a half-court trap that the Wildcats found difficult to navigate leading to some easy buckets for the Broncos.

The closer the game got the more confident Pomona played.

With Chico State trailing 67-63 the game took a wild turn on this wild sequence as the Wildcats sent the home crowd into a frenzy with repeated attempts from long distance

Chico State then had a chance to tie after 91% free throw shooter missed two free throws that could have salted  the game away

The Chico State men enter the CCAA Championship Tournament with a record of 20-6. They will play San Francisco State on Thursday afternoon at 2:30 in Ontario. If the Wildcats win that game they will get another shot at Pomona, who beat the Cats four times last year, twice in the post-season. The Wildcat men are ranked 5th in the West Region and are in a strong position to qualify for the NCAA Tournament regardless of how they do this week in the CCAA Tourney.

photo courtesy of Chico State Athletics at ChicoWildcats.com

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