Case, Raiders on to state |

Case, Raiders on to state

Alan Case is going to state again – but this time in a Moorpark Raiders uniform.

The South Tahoe High grad helped the Raiders reach the California junior college men’s state basketball tournament with a 70-61 upset of defending state champion Cerritos, 70-61, Saturday night in Norwalk, Calif. Case scored eight points as Moorpark won its third straight playoff game to reach the state quarterfinals, which begin Thursday. Moorpark (26-7) opens with San Joaquin Delta at 6 p.m. Thursday at Pacific University in Stockton, Calif.

The Pacific venue enables many of Case’s family and friends to see the sophomore play for the first time as a collegian.

“It gives me a chance to go back home and let people see how I’m doing, and hopefully I’ll see some old faces and talk to some people that I haven’t talked to in a while,” Case said.

Moorpark fell behind 54-48 with nine minutes left, but the state’s second-ranked defense swung the outcome by holding high-scoring Cerritos to only seven points the rest of the way. Case said a defensive switch on Cerritos’ three-point threat, Cedric Lusk, stopped the surge.

“He’s a good player, but we had to get out and guard him,” said Case, whose reserve teammate T.K. Reed welcomed the assignment. “T.K. came in and I haven’t seen anyone play better defense this year than he did on that guy. He D’d the guy up and were able to stop them.”

Reed also was a key factor offensively in the final minutes as he sank 9-of-10 foul shots. His two free tosses with 2:51 remaining put Moorpark ahead, 64-58, but Lusk responded with a 3-pointer. But then Reed led a parade of Raiders to the line. Moorpark went 6-of-8 from the stripe after that to end Cerritos’ season at 27-7.

When the final buzzer sounded, Case and his teammates stormed the court and celebrated with their growing Ventura County fan base.

“We’ve had pretty good turnouts all year, but I’ve never seen so many of our fans (for a road game) … a lot of our teachers were there,” Case said. “People like the team chemistry and see how unselfish we are. I think we’re fun to watch.”

For a school that hasn’t been to state in 10 years and has won only one postseason game since then, the trip to Pacific is an opportunity to show the rest of the state what Southern California teams already know about the Raiders.

“Our defense is so good we definitely have a chance to beat anybody,” Case said.

The state tournament setting also gives Case another opportunity to impress college coaches.

“Every year three’s a good 200 scouts there, everyone from NAIA to the top NCAA Division I schools,” Case said. “Anytime you can get into a place where you can show off your skills to that many coaches, it’s a good thing.”

Dan Galvanoni led Moorpark with 23 points. Lusk and Lemar Gayle led Cerritos with 17 points each.

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