The CMS men's basketball team fell to the University of Redlands on Saturday night in the SCIAC Tournament Championship with a final score of 63-54. This was the first year in the history of the SCIAC Tournament that the championship game was not between CMS and rival Pomona-Pitzer. CMS defeated the University of La Verne 68-62 on Friday night to advance to the finals, while Redlands was victorious against Cal Lutheran. Both CMS and Redlands finished the season with conference records of 11-3, tying for first in SCIAC. During the regular season the Bulldogs defeated the Stags twice making this championship game a highly anticipated one.
Despite taking an early 8-4 lead, the Stags were unable to take command of the game. The Bulldogs went on a 17-0 run that CMS was unable to recover from. Halfway through the first half CMS tried to make its first comeback, scoring 14 points while allowing Redlands just four and cutting the deficit to just three points. At the end of the first half the Bulldogs scored five consecutive points to enter the break with a 30-22 lead.
At the start of the second half, the Stags came out strong. With quick and smart playing and a fast lay-up by Joey Anderson (JR, Lafayette), CMS cut the lead to just two. Redlands never let CMS take the lead, but the Stags continued to push and keep the game close. With 10 minutes left in the game Cody Mivshek (SO, Fort Collins, CO) made a lay-up to make it a one-possession game again.
Although the game was within their grasp, CMS was unable to answer the back-to-back three pointers scored by the Bulldogs. Redland assured themselves the lead by finishing the final 2:30 shooting 7-8 from the free throw line.
It was a hard fought battle, with a total of 25 fouls between the two teams. Sophomore Bulldog Tristan Kirk led both teams with 14 points, while Patrick Lacey (GR, Orangevale) scored 13 for the Stags. Anderson not only led the Stags in defense with 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks, but also made an impact on offense with 11 points. CMS was 37.5% from field while Redlands shot 44.4%.
Although the game did not end in CMS' favor, it was a great season for the Stags. After losing two-time SCIAC Athlete of the Year Chris Blees (SR, Carmichael) to a season ending knee injury during preseason and sophomore Greyson Blue (Kirkland, WA), the Stags knew the season would be a test of their strength as a team. After a few rebuilding games, CMS figured out how to come together and went on to finish as SCIAC Co-Champions with Redlands. All in all it was a successful season for the Stags.