Jordan Stokes gave Lassen College basketball coach Ben Riley a homecoming to remember Thursday at the 70th annual Modesto Junior College Tournament.
Stokes made a lay-up with eight seconds left to stun Modesto 78-77 in the first round of the Pirates' event. Lassen trailed by 15 points before rallying as two Modesto starters fouled out in the final minutes.
Riley, a former Modesto JC assistant coach and Davis High graduate, said the victory meant a lot to the Cougars because it came against a tough opponent.
"We haven't played too many quality teams," Riley said. "That's big for our kids. Modesto is one of the better defensive teams we've faced."
Lassen will play Fresno City tonight at 8. Modesto, which would have played Fresno in a rematch of last year's title game, will play Chabot at 4.
Lassen trailed until the end. Modesto led 65-50 with 10:42 to play when Brian Bergerson made his third 3-pointer.
The lead continued to shrink after point guard Chris Teevan fouled out with 7:33 left. Riley said the Cougars applied pressure and kept their wits about them.
Marvin Jefferson, who scored 15 points, had six rebounds and five blocks, fouled out with 2:33 remaining. Bergerson led Modesto with 20 points.
With only eight players on the roster, there was no back-up ball handler to take Teevan's place. Freshman Andrew Chipponeri planned to redshirt this season, work out with team but not play, but he was activated Thursday.
"Our lack of depth hurt us," Modesto coach Paul Brogan said. "We've got guys playing in unnatural positions. We had to make good decisions with the ball, and we didn't."
Modesto dominated most of the game. Teevan scored 13 points and had 12 assists. Elliot Barker led with seven rebounds and scored 11 points. Kevin Dupree scored 10 points and had a last-second shot bounce off the back of the rim.
Darius Steward led Lassen with 29 points and six rebounds. Patrick Carison, who stole a Modesto pass and fed the ball to Stokes for the game-winner, finished with 17 points.
Bee staff writer Kelly Jones can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2300.