It's the final week of play in the Orange Empire Conference, and it all comes down to one game to determine the 2017 champion. #2 Saddleback College will host #6 Fullerton College on Thursday, February 16th at 5:00 pm for what promises to be an exciting title game.
Both teams did what they had to do by winning their respective games earlier in the week to make this dramatic ending happen. Fullerton (21-6 overall, 10-1 OEC) throttled Orange Coast 96-50. It was their largest margin of victory on the season. The Gauchos (24-3 overall, 10-1 OEC) nearly dropped a hundred points for their highest scoring output to beat Santa Ana 99-71.
There is a ton of back-story here with this game as Fullerton's second-year coach, Perry Webster, played for Gaucho head coach Andy Ground. Webster helped Saddleback to a state title in 2010 and was the state tournament MVP. Webster went on to become an assistant coach for Ground where they won another state title for the Gauchos in 2015. Under Webster, the Hornets are 1-4 against Ground's Gauchos. In fact, the Hornets ripped their monkey off of their back in their last meeting on January 5th when FC edged out Saddleback, who were #1 in the state at the time, 46-45.
Saddleback features the #1 defense in the state holding teams to 55.6 points per game. FC manages to hold opponents to 64.3. The Fullerton offense scores 73 points per game to the Gaucho's 68.6.
With only one game left in the Orange Empire Conference, Riverside (20-8, 7-4) looks to have a lock on third place whether or not they win or lose when they play Irvine Valley at home on Thursday. IVC (14-12, 5-6) and Cypress (13-13, 5-6) are currently tied for fourth place, however that can change if both teams win or lose. Cypress will play at Santa Ana (6-21, 1-10) on Thursday. Orange Coast has a bye as they wrapped up their season at 8-19 overall and 1-11 in the OEC.