Only hours after attending the funeral for Kinesiology and Athletics Dean Greg Warzecka’s wife, American River College’s women’s basketball team snapped a three game losing streak Friday and won its first home game of the season, edging out Sacramento City College in the final seconds 52-49.
According to ARC head coach J.R. Matsunami, during a private conversation between her and Warzecka, he spoke of the women’s team, telling her that he knew it would win.
“I talked to him before I left and I said ‘I gotta change from a black suit to a red suit’ and we kinda laughed about it, and he said ‘Don’t worry, you’re gonna win,’” Matsunami said.
ARC forward Haylee James says the team was not told about Warzecka’s prediction until after the game was over.
“After the game, (Matsunami) mentioned that at the funeral today, (Warzecka) said ‘that you’re gonna get this win,’ and we all kinda got emotional about that,” said James.
Defenses from both teams dominated the early part of the first half, with both teams struggling to score.
ARC tried to involve some of their taller players by getting them the ball down low and allowing them to use their size advantage. The strategy was employed to varying success throughout the first half, and they did not continue it during the second half.
Sac City struggled to score down low near the basket early, but was able to score two points before the end of the half to take a 28-22 lead into the break.
In the beginning of the second half, ARC failed to take advantage of three Sac City turnovers, failing to score on all the ensuing possessions.
ARC hit three consecutive field goals to pull within four points of Sac City with 5:27 left in the game.
Afterward, the team’s traded a trio of unsuccessful scoring attempts before a successful free throw by ARC pulled them to within a score of 48-47.
ARC guard Jazlynne Macklin hit a field goal with 30 seconds left to give ARC a 50-48 lead.
Sac City began to intentionally foul ARC in order to save time, allowing ARC to extend its lead to 52-49.
As time expired, officials put .2 seconds back on the clock, but Sac City was unable to get a shot up before time expired, giving ARC the win.
Matsunami added that she didn’t worry about the outcome of the game after Macklin hit the 3-pointer that put ARC up for the remainder of the game.
“His wife’s name was Mary, and (we said) if you could just help us out on one shot, we’d really appreciate it. And (Macklin) hit that three. I didn’t doubt after that, it was just meant to happen. It’s just one of those things you have no control over,” said Matsunami.