For the first time ever, Life Chiropractic College West hosted a two-sport Bay Area Classic in volleyball and basketball.
The cross-town rival, Palmer West Dragons from San Jose, traveled to Life West in hopes of avenging last year’s loss in basketball, and they tried their hand in defeating Life West in volleyball.
The Bay Area Classic matinee started off with a volleyball clash between the Gladiators and Dragons. Each side represented a talented co-ed team with several experienced collegiate players.
The Dragons came out to an early lead in the first set and sustained the lead, with the aid of unforced errors from the Gladiators. The errors plagued the Gladiators, and they went on to relinquish the first set, 22-25.
The Gladiators fixed their problems in the second set and dominated for the most part, winning 25-22 and forcing a pivotal winner-take-all third set.
The back-and-forth battle between the two teams continued, and midway through the third set, the Gladiators held an 8-5 lead before switching sides. The crowd was rocking in the Life West gymnasium, and that hindered the Dragons’ ability to serve in crunch-time. The Gladiators ultimately held off the Dragons to win 15-9 and were crowned Bay Area Classic Volleyball champs.
The main event for the night pitted the Gladiators basketball team, winners of the last four Bay Area Classics, against an eager Dragons team looking to break the streak.
The atmosphere had a high school basketball feel to it, as more than 300 people were packed into a small gymnasium to root for their teams.
The Dragons were clearly on a mission to keep the game close and only trailed by three at the end of first half, 39-42.
The intensity increased at the start of the third quarter as Palmer went on an 8-0 run to take the lead at 54-52, their first lead since early in the first quarter. They added to the score and led by 9 points at one time.
The Gladiators fought back with an 8-0 run of their own, by sinking back-to-back three-pointers and converting two successful free throws. The third quarter ended all tied up at 61 apiece.
The contest reached its peak in the closing minute of the fourth quarter. The Gladiators held the ball to less than 10 seconds left on the game clock and shot an unsuccessful three-pointer that would have broken the 77-77 standstill.
With four seconds left in the contest, the Dragons had one shot to redeem four years of coming up short at the Bay Area Classic. And that they did, as Dragon forward Justin Lin drilled a fadeaway jumper in the right elbow to win at the buzzer.
The Dragons’ supporters rushed the court to celebrate, and the Gladiators fans were left shocked and in disbelief.
Both sides went home with a victory at the Bay Area Classic. The Bay Area Classic is an annual event that pits the two closest chiropractic colleges against each other for some friendly competition in basketball and volleyball. There are plans of adding hockey next year’s Bay Area Classic.