It wasn't the same as the death of Coach Doug Michelson's brother from leukemia earlier this week but Valley College's 88-83 overtime loss to Ventura College in a Western State Conference interdivisional game Thursday night was difficult to take.
Valley (12-7) played without Michelson, who was in Virginia with his family after his brother's death on Monday.
The Monarchs were ahead by as many as 17 points and led almost all the way before Chris Clayton scored seven points and James Lee added six points in overtime for the Pirates.
Ventura (14-5) did not lead until a three-point shot by Clayton and a layup by Lee after a steal by Clayton put the Pirates ahead, 80-79, with 2 1/2 minutes left in overtime.
Clayton sank four free throws in the last eight seconds, including a pair of technical shots after Valley was whistled for having six players on the court.
Valley's DaJuan Wilson hit two free throws to tie the game, 73-73, at the end of regulation.
"We tried our best," said Valley point guard Benny Hoang, who finished with 18 points. "We were up the whole game, and fell apart at the end. This hurts, but things happen in basketball."
The Monarchs played an inspired first half, holding a 29-12 lead after the Pirates went 3 1/2 minutes without scoring. They committed four turnovers in that span.
The advantage was anything but an inside job by Valley.
The Monarchs made 14 of 30 shots in the first half despite trying more three-point shots than two-pointers.
Valley was nine of 17 from beyond the three-point line.