The Vikings won their fifth consecutive game on Wednesday night in the Hall of Champions. The No. 16 Long Beach City College men's basketball team defeated the No. 17 Palomar Comets 80-74 in the first round of the SoCal Regional Playoffs to advance into round two.
The Comets opened the game by being first on the board. The Vikings played catch-up in the first half, but were able to take the lead for the first time with a jumper from sophomore guard William English with 10 minutes left in the half. The Comets took back the lead with a layup and free throws, but then sophomore guard Mark Neal Jr. downed a three pointer to tie the game for the second time.
Palomar kicked their offense up a notch to fend off the Vikings again, but freshman guard Jeremiah Sadler wasn't read to let up and tied the game for a third time. The Comets reacted with a three pointer and extended their lead to 37-32 in the first half.
Sadler was first through the hoop for the Vikings with a three pointer to start the second half of the game. Freshman guard James Martin scored a three pointer to keep the offensive command rolling. The Vikings and the Comets went back-and-forth throughout the half and with four minutes left in the game, the teams tied once more 68-68.
After Long Beach took a timeout, sophomore guard Jordan Heard nailed a three pointer to bring back the Vikings offensive momentum. The Comets scored one more jumper, which was backed by two perfect free throws from Heard to keep the playoff lead with one minute left on the clock. English finished the game with four free throws to end the game with a playoff victory.
English led the team with 25 points and had five rebounds. Freshman forward Matthew Wooten and Heard both tallied six rebounds each for the Vikings and Sadler led with five assists and brought in 15 points.
The Vikings will play again in Round Two of the SoCal Regional Playoffs at No. 1 San Diego City College on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.