In what was nearly the season's biggest upset, Modesto Junior College's men's basketball team came within a shot of topping the state's No. 7-ranked team.
But the Pirates were forced to foul in the end and a last-second 3-point attempt hit the rim as Modesto lost 63-60 to Diablo Valley College on Tuesday at the MJC gym.
The Modesto women ended a four-game skid by defeating the Vikings 59-56.
The men's loss to DVC (23-7, 10-1 Big 8 Conference) brought to an end the Pirates' three-game win streak.
To make the playoffs, Modesto will need to win at least two of its last three games and finish ahead of Sierra College, which also lost Tuesday. Both teams are 4-7 and tied for fifth in the Big 8.
"Every game is a big game for us," MJC coach Paul Brogan said. "We're 3-1 in the second half of conference. Right now we need to focus on going 4-1."
Modesto (15-12) got a big 3-pointer from an unlikely source late in the game. Forward Marvin Jefferson made a shot from beyond the arc with 1 minutes, 12 seconds, remaining to pull the Pirates within three points, 61-58. It was only his second trey of the year.
"I had to do something to boost momentum," Jefferson said. "It was wide open. What better time to take it? I think I can shoot it any time. After it went in, I thought 'No way are we losing this game.' "
But time was not on the Pirates' side. Unable to set up another 3-pointer, Jefferson made a layup with 9 seconds left to close within 61-60.
Modesto fouled to stop the clock. Diablo Valley's Gary Pinkney made both free throws. The only shot Modesto had time to take was a 3-pointer by point guard Chris Teevan, who ran from mid-court, pulled up at the perimeter and launched a floater that bounced off the rim.
"With 4 seconds to go and no timeouts, we had to go for it," Teevan said. "Brian (Bergerson) took it out, so I had to shoot it.
"I can't emphasize enough how good they are. Their only loss was to Santa Rosa and we just beat Santa Rosa. This is a team that beat us by 40 and 25 in previous meetings. For us to come in and be one shot away, you can't ask for much more than that."
Bergerson led Modesto with 21 points, including five 3-pointers. Jefferson followed with 18 and Teevan had 11.
Diablo Valley), ranked fourth in Northern California, was led by Antonio Rushing's 15 points. The Vikings made 9 of 15 free throws to Modesto's 5 of 8.
MJC 59, DVC 56 — Kacey Ball came up huge in a victory the Pirates desperately needed. The sophomore guard scored a season-high 24 points and had a key steal with 5 seconds remaining to lead Modesto (17-11, 5-6 Big 8).
Diablo Valley (10-18, 3-8) tried to get the ball to 3-point specialist Megan Souza for a game-tying shot. But with Ursyla Mueller defending, Souza bobbled the pass and Ball dove for the possession.
"We always kept our heads up," Mueller said. "The last 14 seconds, we were all playing really good 'D.' These last two weeks, we played together and we never gave up. It was important for us to stay together as a team."
Mueller scored 18 points and had three steals. Stephanie Doerksen made a put-back with 2:20 to play that put Modesto ahead for good, 57-55. Connie Gomes scored five points and led in rebounds (nine), assists (seven) and steals (four).
Monica Pastor led DVC with 18 points.
It was a good thing the Vikings weren't better free-throw shooters Tuesday. They missed eight of their final 10 free throws, making just 11 of 21 in the game. Diablo Valley's last field goal came with 8:30 to play and Modesto held the Vikings to just 21 points after halftime.