The men’s basketball team dominated the Bakersfield Renegades and cruised to a 76-57 with at home on Saturday while the Lady Vaqueros lost 74-40 to the Renegades in the second game of the night at Verdugo Gym.
The Lady Vaqueros had a tough time stopping the Renegades. They were at a height disadvantage to begin with, and Daniella Ruvalcaba, a freshman forward, got in early foul trouble in the first two minutes of the game. It was the beginning of the end for the Lady Vaqueros.
The score was never close as the lead kept growing and frustration reached boiling point in the winding minutes of the second half. Six technical fouls were called in the closing minutes, four of which belonged to the Lady Vaqueros.
Head Coach Carrie Miller felt that the season was going to be a learning experience considering there were nine freshman on the team.
“Each game has been a learning experience, the season has been tough and especially this game,” said Miller. “The girls are frustrated with the game as well as the season.”
The Lady Vaqueros declined interviews following the game.
Before the game both team’s honored the sophomores on the team by thanking them and giving them flowers. The sophmore players were greeted by parents and loved ones. Among the players honored was men’s team captain Narbeh Ebrahimian.
In the men’s game, the Vaqueros needed a win to clinch a playoff spot. With playoff implications the Vaqueros came out sluggish. The team possessed a height advantage over the Renegades, which allowed players to block shots and shut down the paint, forcing the Renegades to rely on mostly outside shots. The Renegades tried to add pressure by pressing the Vaqueros.
Head Coach Brian Beauchmin said he prefers when teams try and press the Vaqueros, because it’s what they practice for.
“We want teams to press us, we know how to attack the press, it’s what we practice every day,” said Beauchmin.
Suilaiman Sekamwa, a freshman forward, had a great game. He scored 12 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, eight of which were offensive. Sekamwa had four straight games with double digit rebounds.
Sekamwa knew he was in for a big game when he looked over and saw the Renegades only had one big on their team.
“They only had one big guy, I knew that I had a chance to be great,” said Sekamwa. “Mentally I am always prepared to do my job, that’s the great thing about being in this team, we are always prepared.”
At the end of the half the score was close, but starting the second half the Vaqueros put the clamps down. They suffocated the Renegades and blew the game out. The Vaqueros got a stop in every possession and confused the Renegades with their defense.
“We are the leading team in points allowed in our division. Our defense is what defines us. When we execute, we are really hard to score against,” said Beauchmin.
Nate Bryant a freshman guard, did his best Kobe impersonation and scored a game-high 18 points. Every time the Renegades were poised for a comeback, Bryant scored and stopped the momentum from building. Bryant hit four shots behind the arc and drove the paint with reckless abandonment.
“I see the court very well, I have a knack for finding the open lanes,” he said. “The press they tried on us was broken easily, that allowed me to penetrate with no trouble.”
The regular season ended with the Vaqueros winning 18 games (7-5 in division) and finishing in third place in the division.
With the victory the Vaqueros earned a trip to the playoffs. The Vaqueros earned the 14th seed in the Southern California Regionals. They played the 17th seed Long Beach City College on Feb. 23.
LBCC defeated GCC 82-73 in the first round of the playoffs. Sekamwa kept his double-digit rebounding streak alive with 10 rebounds. Foul trouble plagued the Vaqueros as three starters fouled out of the game.