David Dial (2) rests after a great scoring run by the Gauchos. (Connor Hedges/Lariat)
The Saddleback Men’s basketball team hosted the Antelope Valley College Marauders in the first round of the Southern California Community College Regional Playoffs Wednesday, winning the match-up 75-67.
“My mindset going into the first round of playoffs was it’s either win or go home and our season would be over,” said guard Jerique Walker. “I knew my role going into the game was to come in a contribute immediately and I found a great rhythm.”
While Freshman Guard David Dial led all Gauchos with 22 points, guard Jerique Walker came off the bench in the first half with his energy clearly igniting the team. Walker went 7-12 from the field and hit shots when the Gauchos needed him the most. Walker finished with 14 points in the game.
“I wasn’t worried about how many points I was scoring but rather what I needed to do to help our team come out at top,” Walker said. “David and I complement each other well and I think thats why we did so well.”
Both the Gauchos and Marauders started the game off strong, with the score going back and forth in the first half before the Gauchos went on a 15-3 run that allowed them to run away with it. Strong performances from David Dial, Jerique Walker and Nik Lipovic is what ultimately helped the Gauchos come away on top.
“I’m proud of how our guys we came out with high intensity, I know we missed shots early and I know I had plenty of opportunities that i missed but we stayed strong throughout and won the game on the defensive end,” said Lipovic.”Our defense helped our offense get going and we also had some key contributions from the bench that really helped us get off to a good start in playoffs.”
While Freshman Guard David Dial led all Gauchos with 22 points, Guard Jerique Walker came off the bench in the first half with his energy clearly igniting the team. Walker went 7-12 from the field and hit shots when the Gauchos needed him the most. Walker finished with 14 points in the game.
The Gauchos finished tied for third place with Fullerton College in the Orange Empire Conference after the regular season, with a final record of 18-10 and and 11-5 in conference play. Santiago Canyon finished in first place with Riverside College a close second.
After an impressive regular season, four Gauchos were named to the All-Orange Empire Conference Team on Monday. David Dial made the first team where he led all Gauchos with points per game. Both Nik Lipovic and Captain Whitlock made the All-OEC second team, with Tristan Williams being named honorable mention right behind them.
With the win Wednesday night, the Gauchos advanced to play in the second round of playoffs against a very tough opponent in the East Los Angeles College Huskies on Saturday night in Los Angeles. The Huskies are seeded number 2 in the state of California.