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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 3:14 pm | Partly Cloudy 56º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
College Basketball

Hancock Coach Cary Nerelli Earns 500th Win In Upset

Freshman center Grace Rosa recorded her second career double-double to help the Allan Hancock College women’s basketball team upset American River 58-45 to open a tournament hosted by Cuesta College on Thursday. The Bulldogs improved to 3-2 and advanced into the championship semifinals of the 33rd annual Phillips 66 Invitational where they will face Las Positas at 4 p.m. on Friday.

The win was the 500th career coaching victory for Hancock head coach Cary Nereli. In his fourth season at Hancock, Nerelli has 44 wins with the Bulldogs after he earned 456 during his C.I.F. Hall of Fame career with Morro Bay High School.  

Rosa, a Paso Robles High School graduate, scored a career-high 19 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Rosa scored 11 points in the second half during which time the Bulldogs outscored American River, the 14th ranked team in the Northern California Preseason Coaches Poll, 32-19 to earn the victory. Rosa hit nine of 14 from the floor, had three assists and blocked one shot.

Freshman guard Karly Beyers added 14 points on four for nine shooting, including three of four from 3-point range. The Pioneer Valley High School graduate went 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. She added seven rebounds.

Sophomore guard Syenna Ramirez scored 10 points to give Hancock three scorers in double figures. The St. Joseph High School graduate went 2-for-8 from the field, but sank six of eight from the free-throw line. Ramirez added four rebounds and five assists.

Freshman forward Naomi Leopardi added six points, three assists and tied a career high with 13 boards. Destinee Garcia added five points, seven rebounds and two assists.

Hancock led 10-9 after the first quarter. The two teams were deadlocked at 26-26 at halftime after Hancock freshman Taylor Lee-Hammer hit a bucket at the buzzer.

Hancock shot 40 percent from the field overall by sinking 20 of its 50 shots. The Bulldogs also sank 14 of 20 free throws or 70 percent.

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