OEC co-MVP Josh Smith goes up for the basket in Wednesday’s win over East Los Angeles College. Smith recorded his fourth double-double of the year, with 10 points and 12 rebounds. (Michael Grennell)
For the fifth year in a row, the Saddleback men’s basketball team reached the CCCAA Regional Finals thanks to a 56-46 win over the East Los Angeles College Huskies on Wednesday night.
The Gauchos got off to a slow start, falling behind 6-0 five minutes into the first half. Saddleback managed to pull into a tie with East Los Angeles late in the first half, and with just under four minutes left in the first half, sophomore guard Darnell Taylor hit a free throw to give the Gauchos the lead. The Gauchos led by as much as 15 points in the second half as they defeated the Huskies 56-46.
After the game, Taylor said that despite the slow start, the team played well in the win.
“We started off kind of slow, but we picked it up in the second half,” Taylor said. “We played hard. We didn’t want to lose.”
Saddleback had three players finish with double-digit points in the win. Brevard led the Gauchos in scoring for the second game in a row, with 12 points. Brevard said that while it felt good to be scoring, he doesn’t worry about his personal stats.
“I’m just trying to get the win,” Brevard said. He also managed to record a team high of three assists, tied for the team lead with two steals and pulled down two rebounds.
OEC co-MVP Josh Smith recorded his fourth double-double of the year, scoring 10 points while pulling down 12 rebounds. His teammate, sophomore forward Carlton Hayes, fell just short of recording a double-double. Hayes scored 10 points, but only grabbed nine rebounds.
The Gauchos now prepare for their matchup on Saturday Mar. 9, when they host the Chaffey College Panthers. The winner of this game will advance to the state championships, which will be held at Consumnes River College in Sacramento from Mar. 15-17. Looking forward to Saturday’s game, Taylor expressed confidence in his team.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Taylor said. “If we stay focused, we can beat anybody.”
Sophomore guard Miles Green attempts the layup in the first half of Wednesday’s win. Green finished the night with six points and nine rebounds. (Michael Grennell)
For the second game in a row, sophomore guard AJ Brevard came off the bench to lead the team in scoring. Brevard finished the night with 12 points, three assists, two steals, and two rebounds (Michael Grennell)