Glendale players came out with fire in their eyes and beat Harbor College 100-79 on Nov. 21 at the Verdugo Gym to make the team’s season-to-date record 5-0.
The Vaqueros’ 6-foot-5-inch forward Kevin Dancer made several eye -catching plays as he led the team with 23 points.
Both teams came out playing up tempo up and down the court. But the first five minutes of the game was a collection of turnovers, and the sound of the referees whistles punctuated the game.
“We’ve got a really good team this season and we’ve played real well this year,” said Dancer after the game. “We haven’t played any strong competitors yet, but we still need to execute down the stretch to keep it going.”
The Vaqueros had a supporting cast behind Dancer to contribute to their victory. Power forward Curtis Leslie was vital on the inside game as he cashed in with 17 points as well as four of six free throws from the line.
The visiting Seahawks were able to limit the Vaqueros to 36 first half points, but a second half spurt was more than they could handle as Glendale piled on 64 to put the game out of reach.
The pace of the game was fast, and the high tempo was the result of numerous turnovers and traveling violations. The Vaqueros turned the ball over 17 times in the game, including 13 in the first half alone.
“I remarked to the players, basketball is a very fast game today,” said Vaquero head coach Brian Beauchemin. “In a normal game situation, you have to make stops, then score.”
Fans in attendance were treated to a close game early before Dancer scored three consecutive baskets to help the Vaqs earn a 36-23 halftime advantage
Leslie contributed to the Vaqueros adding to their lead early in the second half by taking an inbound pass from guard Jose Garcia, and dribbling to his right. Spotting some daylight in the middle, he drove to the basket to make it 20-point lead for Glendale.
Robert Valentine contributed to the highlight tape when he missed a jump shot, but Dancer jumped up from the left side of the key and elevated his body over the defenders to finish it off with a thunderous dunk.
What the Vaqueros did well all game long was to share the ball and hit the boards on both sides of the floor.
“When we’re in our system and not feeling anxious, we share the ball exceptionally,” said Beauchemin. “We shot the ball pretty well, so it helped take the pressure off of us.”
In the final seconds of the game, the Vaqueros were in the lead 97-79 and Vaquero center Brian Baker had an open look at the basket and looked to put the final points on the scoreboard with time ticking off the clock. The 6-foot-6 Baker pulled up from beyond the three-point line to score the final points of the game and the bench erupted and yelled out praise to Baker to acknowledge his rare long distance shot.
Glendale is gearing up for a big test this weekend in Antelope Valley in the eight-team Antelope Valley tournament, Friday through Sunday. They face Riverside College on Friday at 3 p.m. for the opening round of the tourney.