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Back to the drawing board for Yuba men
American River tops 49ers in tourney
It doesn't happen that often, in fact, it's been nearly four years since the Yuba College men's basketball team last tasted defeat on its home court.
Since that time, the 49ers have been unbeatable playing in front of their faithful supporters, picking up win after win, with many of those victories coming in blowout fashion.
However, streaks eventually have to come to an end, and that's exactly what transpired on Friday night.
Taking on American River in the second day of the inaugural 49er Four-Teamer tournament, Yuba battled back from a pair of double-digit deficits before falling short at the end in a 73-65 loss to the Beavers.
Maybe it was just a cold shooting night for a group short on experience, but the 49ers simply didn't have it while suffering their first home loss since falling to Bay Valley Conference foe Napa Valley 74-67 on Jan. 10, 2009.
"When you shoot 38 percent from the field, 19 percent from the 3-point line and don't score a point inside the paint running our offense in the second half, it's hard to win a game," Yuba coach Doug Cornelius said. "Like I told them, you're not going to beat a high school team playing like that."
A strong American River team didn't help matters either.
Led by 6-foot-8 power forward Chad Haysbert in the post and a lights-out shooting performance by shooting guard Mardell Thompson, the Beavers (4-2) broke open a one-point lead at the half and led by as many as 13 points late.
A 3-pointer by Yev Dyachenko cut the lead to 67-63 with 1:56 remaining, but Thompson canned his sixth trey of the night to stretch the lead back to seven and the Beavers held on for the victory.
"We were the state runner-up in 2005, so it's not a big deal for us," American River coach Mark Giorgi said. "Yuba has been so successful, especially at home, so it gives us some confidence moving forward."
Thompson finished with a game-high 24 points, but the biggest difference was the play of Haysbert, who controlled the paint while dropping in 21 points of his own.
"He's done a complete 180 from last year and the difference is his aggressiveness," Giorgi said of the Center High grad. "He's gifted, but aggressiveness is something you need when you're competing.
"He's been a man these last two games, and we hope that continues."
Cornelius added that playing against many of his high school rivals also brought out the best in Haysbert.
"He played twice as hard because it was against us," Cornelius said. "He's a sleeping giant, and we knew that if we woke him up we'd have our hands full — and we woke him up."
Achoki Moikobu scored 21 points and Akachi Okugo dropped in 16 points for the 49ers, who fell to 2-3 on the young season with the loss.
"We're young, and the guys haven't figured out that you can't do the same thing you did in high school and get away with it at this level," Cornelius said. "I knew we were going to go through some growing pains with this group. They play hard, but they don't play smart yet."
Next up for Yuba is the four-day Modesto Junior College Tournament starting Wednesday.