CR men make history with second straight GVC championship

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The Corsairs were crowned outright champions of the Golden Valley Conference with a 65-60 win at Shasta College on Wednesday night, defending the title they won two years ago and claiming back-to-back championships for the first time in program history.

Since dropping their conference opener at Butte in the middle of January, the College of the Redwoods men have racked up eight straight conference wins, including two in the past eight days over the high-flying Knights.

On Wednesday, they had to come from behind to take the win, with Jon Nchekwube scoring the go-ahead basket with 15 seconds remaining before Donald Willis iced the game at the line with four straight free throws.

“We persevered like the champions we are,” head coach Ryan Bisio said. “This group is special. Winning a championship game in Shasta is one of the hardest things to do.”

Willis and Drew Gillette each scored a team-high 15 points in the win, as the CR men improved to 8-1 in conference and 18-5 overall, while Nchekwube chipped in 13 points.

The Corsairs trailed 38-31 at halftime.

“The grit and determination to scratch and claw our way back late in the game was incredible,” Bisio said. “Everybody made big plays on each end.”

The back-to-back championships will go down as a major accomplishment for the program and was achieved in large part thanks to the contribution of the Fortuna foursome of Gillette, Zac Claus and Donald and Bradley Willis.

“This is such a monumental accomplishment by a group of very impressive people,” Bisio said. “Our love for each other and investment in each other is inspiring to be around.”

The Corsairs will close out the regular season against Lassen at Shasta College on Saturday.

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