Gauchos head into conference play at all-time high

MaryAnne Shults

The Gauchos head into conference play with a 15-3 record, stomping some of the best teams in the state during pre-season tournaments. The men’s basketball team’s skill and spirit proves them on track and ready to maintain their State Champions title this season.

Gaucho’s Going Green: Modesto JC Basketball Tournament

In early December, the team shined at the 73rd Annual Modesto Junior College Basketball Tournament, defeating some of the best Northern California teams as they climbed the brackets, first conquering the semifinals 86-37 against Columbia College and then Yuba College, 85-71, in the finals. At one point, Saddleback outscored Yuba 40-14 over a 10-minute span.

Myron Green, a sophomore transfer from Indiana’s Ball State University, took the honor of the tournament’s MVP after scoring 26 points. Marquis Green hit six three-pointers in the first half of the final game going 8-for-9 beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes of play. Both men were named to the All-Tournament Team.

“The guys played very well,” said Head Coach Andy Ground. “It was very encouraging heading into the Brummel Classic this weekend.”

Saddleback stomps IVC in Brummel Classic

Saddleback wasn’t ready to slow down. The Gauchos hosted the annual Bill Brummel Classic on Dec. 16-18, soaring to 74-58 victory in the finals over sister school Irvine Valley College. They chalked up their second tournament victory.

Myron Green once again earned the tournament MVP honor after scoring 42 points on 16-for-30 shooting over the three-day battle. 6-foot-9 sophomore guard Wendall Faines powered the defense, blocking seven shots, grabbing 22 rebounds, as well as scoring 36 points

The final was broadcast live via podcast on OEC-Live Sports. An archive is available on their website.

The road to Hancock is paved with Gaucho Gold

On Tuesday, Dec. 21, Saddleback claimed another pre-season victory as they cruised to an 80-44 win over El Camino College led by Faines. But it was Mason Jones and Philippe Zarif who brought the fans to their feet after a fairly lackluster game when they both blasted the score with three-pointers in the final moments of the game, bringing the team spirit to an all-time high as they took a week off before heading to the Allan Hancock Tournament.

The defeat extended the winning streak for Saddleback to nine games. It is the longest winning streak for the program since winning 10 straight games last season from Nov. 21 through Dec. 18.

With the team record at 15-3, Saddleback opened the Hancock Tournament against state arch rivals Fresno City College. The Gauchos ranked No. 3 in the state while Fresno City at No. 6.

After falling to the Rams in the opening round (92-77), the Gaucho men’s basketball team bounced back to beat Butte (65-54) and Santa Barbara City (79-53) to take the consolation title.

Fresno (15-2) went on to win the tournament title easily with wins over Cuesta (84-58) and Bakersfield (103-53).

The Gaucho’s first Orange Empire Conference play begins tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. on their home court against Riverside College.

 

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