2011-12 Highlights From DR

Posted: March 13, 2012 in AVC Men's BB 2011-12

DR who is the consummate JUCO basketball fan who saw 77 games this year.  AVC played  a big part in his highlights this year.  Go AVC—Final Four!!!!

Back after an absence of a few years is DR’s Season Superlatives, a look at the best and the brightest performances and moments from the 2011-12 JC Basketball season in California!

During the season I managed to see a total of 77 games (not counting 3 women’s gamess) and including the summer that total rises to 124. The 77 games ties my career high (set in 2009-10) and the 124 is a new career high.

It’s the first time since 2004 I didn’t get to the state tournament…but that gave me some time to pursue other interests, such as this compliation.

Season Superlatives:

Most Points, Team: 106 – Long Beach, 12/17 vs. La Jolla Prep
Fewest Points Allowed: 40 – Orange Coast, 12/27 vs. Canyons
Most Points, Player (men): 36 – Austin Ramljak, Ventura, 11/30 vs. LA Valley (overtime)
Most Points, Player (women): 40 – Andraquay Quinnine, Cosumnes River, 2/7 vs. Diablo Valley
Most Rebounds, Player: 20 – Ashton Coleman, Santa Ana, 1/20 vs. Fullerton
Most Assists, Player: 14 – Da’Shawn Gomez, Antelope Valley, 11/19 vs. LA Valley (overtime)
Most 3-point FG, Player: 8 – Austin Ramljak, Ventura, 11/30 vs. LA Valley (overtime)
Most Blocked Shots, Player: 6 – Josue Mulamba, Imperial Valley, 11/17 vs. Canyons
Most Steals, Player: 7 – Andre Moore Jr., Merced, 12/6 vs. Cosumnes River

Best Team: Fresno. Not only did Fresno win the state championship – its second for coach Ed Madec – but the team I’d originally planned to put in this spot was City College of San Francisco…and then I remembered how Fresno absolutely blitzed them in November. Fresno won its own tournament with a 97-71 win in the championship game, handing CCSF what is believed to be its worst loss (by point margin) since Justin Lebagh became coach (I don’t have records from his first season in 2004-05). During its playoff run, Fresno also beat Cabrillo, the team that eliminated CCSF from the playoffs, as well as Diablo Valley, the champs of the summertime Las Positas Shootout…so I guess that about settles it, eh?

Best Player: Delon Wright, San Francisco. The 6-5 point guard could not have been more impressive. In the two games I saw him play, he was 10-for-14 from the floor with 3 threes (and one of his missed shots was a swing-through that was less a shot than an unsuccessful attempt to draw a foul). He had 4 rebs, 5 asts, 5 blocks and 8 steals…and no turnovers. I’d seen him play a few times when he was at Leuzinger HS and he was always a stat-sheet stuffer, but he’s improved his shooting since then and asserts himself more. He’ll likely join his older brother Dorrell in the NBA in a few years.

Best Game, Player: Ryan Salmonson, Cosumnes River, 12/6 vs. Merced. The 6-10 sophomore went 15-for-15 for 30 points while adding 9 rebs and 3 blocked shots in a 78-54 win over Merced. It’s hard to be better than perfect, eh?

Best Game, Player, in a losing cause: Andrew Young, Monterey Peninsula. The 6-9 sophomore had 35 points and 14 rebs in a 73-60 season-opening loss at Foothill. At the time, word was that there was mild Big West level interest in his services; nowadays he’s reportedly hearing from schools in the Big 12 and the ACC.

Best Game, Player, in a hopeless cause: Demarge Boyd, Lassen. The Cougars were in the midst of a 1-21 season, and faced the mighty Fresno Rams, ranked #3 in the North at the time and eventual state champs. It figured to be an ugly game…and it was as Fresno won, 76-49. But Boyd had a strong performance with 21 pts, 15 rebs and 3 blocked shots, all game-highs.

Best Games by Position (men):

PG – Da’Shawn Gomez, Antelope Valley, 11/19 vs. LA Valley. The Iona-bound sophomore had a triple-double (on my stat sheet, at least) with 10 pts, 10 rebs and 14 asts, the most important of which came on Michaelynn Scott’s game-tying three with 0.1 second left in regulation time.

SG – Marcus Johnson, LA Valley, 2/22 vs. Canyons. Despite a minor injury in the first half, the sophomore guard finished with 29 pts on 9-for-11 with 7 threes, while adding 3 rebs, 2 asts and 3 steals as Valley whipped COC, 75-61, in a mini-round playoff game.

SF – Rafael Love, Canyons, 1/18 vs. Santa Monica. In perhaps Canyons’ biggest win of the year, the sophomore forward had a game-high 27 pts on 7-for-12 while adding 7 rebs, 2 asts and 2 steals. His 3-pointer with 11 seconds left broke a 77-all tie, and his two FTs with 3 seconds left clinched the 82-77 win.

PF – Dennis Hardwell, LA Harbor, 12/23 vs. Santa Monica. It was expected to be a close game between the #8 and the #13 teams, but Harbor dominated virtually the entire game. And Hardwell, with his game-high totals of 26 pts and 15 rebs, was a big reason why the Seahawks posted a 77-54 victory.

C – Darius Gordon, West Hills, 2/11 vs. Sequoias. The Bayonne NJ native posted game-highs of 24 pts and 16 rebs (twice as many as anyone else in the game) and added 3 rebs, a block and a steal to lead West Hills to a key 60-57 win, securing the Falcons’ first playoff berth in about a decade.

Bench (technically) – Alex Perez, Fresno, 11/20 vs. San Francisco. The freshman point guard came off the bench but played most of the minutes in Fresno’s 97-71 win over CCSF. Perez was the clear standout, orchestrating it all with 11 pts, 12 asts, 3 steals and just one turnover (a dubious double-dribble call after one of his steals).

Bench (kind of) – Anthony Holliday, Cerritos, 11/17 vs. Irvine Valley. This week was the highlight of the season for Holliday and the Falcons, who captured the IVC tourney. He lit up the hosts for 26 pts on 8-for-14, including 4 threes, and added 4 rebs, 4 asts and 2 steals en route to tourney MVP honors. Holliday was a starter most of the season for Cerritos, but came off the bench for this one.

Bench (really!) – Najee Salaam, Ventura, 12/10 vs. Citrus. In the championship game of the Saddleback Gaucho tournament, Salaam came off the bench for 33 pts on 15-for-21 and added a team-high 11 rebs. Ventura fell, 87-79, to the Owls, but considering that Citrus only lost once all season that’s no disgrace.

Best Performance, teammates: Corey Allen and Lavell McDade, Mt. San Antonio, 12/3 vs. Chaffey. McDade scored 20 pts in the first half to keep Mt. SAC close (they trailed, 32-30, at the break) and Allen had all 31 of his points in the second half and overtime. And the Mounties needed every point, barely holding on for an 89-88 win.

Best Game: Citrus 94 vs. San Bernardino Valley 88, 3/3. It was a highly-anticipated regional final between the champs of the WSC-S and the co-champs of the Foothill, probably the two toughest conferences in SoCal this season. And it lived up to anticipation – both in terms of intensity and in terms of being a great game. SBVC jumped out to a 20-6 lead and led by 14 several times before Citrus rallied to take it and move on to the state semifinals for the 4th time in 5 years.

Best Game, Team: Diablo Valley, 2/7, vs. Cosumnes River. This game featured the #5 Vikings against the #12 Hawks in a key Big 8 match-up and figured to be very close. It wasn’t. Everything DVC tried to do seemed to work, while nothing Cosumnes River had much effect. DVC led by 19 at the half and started the second half with a 16-1 run to take complete command. And it could have been worse, if not for some hot shooting by CRC’s Tony Baldocchi, who had 16 pts on 6-for-9.

Biggest Beatdown: Canyons 96, Orange Coast 40. The result wasn’t entirely unexpected, but the severity of it sure was. Canyons started the game with an 18-0 run and just kept running, shooting 66% for the game with five players reaching double digits. Canyons also held a rather remarkable 50-25 rebounding advantage. It was 51-14 at halftime. The 56-point margin is the largest for any JC game I’ve covered, breaking the mark of 52 (Fresno 125, Gavilan 72) set in 2003.

Biggest Upset: Orange Coast 79, LA Southwest 77. Southwest entered ranked #9 in the South, and OCC was unranked. But Will Ligon had 30 pts and Jason Payne had 14 as the Pirates shocked the world with the win in the Glendale tournament. Well, maybe not actually the whole world as a certain internet analyst remarked to OCC coach Steve Spencer before the game that he was there to see his guys beat Southwest…

Biggest Upset II: Cerritos 61, El Camino 60. It was the final game of the regular season, with El Camino trying to improve its playoff seeding and Cerritos playing out the string, entering with a 9-17 record. And I was coming from Mt. San Jacinto, and stopped for a burrito at a nearby Alberto’s before getting to Biola just in time (I arrived as they were introducing the lineups). There might have been 100 people in the gym, including the players. But it was an outstanding game, with neither team leading by more than 8 points. And Cerritos pulled out the win when Anthony Scott scored a lay-up on a pass from Kierre Beverly with 2.5 seconds left.

Best Defensive Game, Team: Riverside, 2/29 vs. Saddleback. It was the third time the teams had met in about a month, the second in 12 days, and defense ruled the night. 16 minutes into the game the score was 9-9! The halftime score was 13-13. But Riverside went on an 11-2 run midway through the second half and led the rest of the way. The 50-41 final was a bit inflated due to some late free throws; it was 39-33 with less than two minutes to play. RCC held Saddleback to 24% from the floor, and only Darnell Taylor had more than 4 points for the Gauchos.

Best Comeback, Team: Cerritos, 11/17 vs. Irvine Valley. IVC led by 6 points AND had the ball with less than 30 seconds left. But the Falcons rallied, with a steal by Willie Edwards leading to a 3-pointer by Anthony Holliday. Then IVC missed a free throw (the front end of a one-and-one), leading to another 3-pointer by Holliday with 0.2 seconds left. Cerritos then went on to win, 69-63, in overtime, led by 8 points from Edwards.

Best Comeback That Fell Short I: Canyons, 1/7 vs. Citrus. The #1-ranked Owls led by 26 points midway through the second half. But the visiting Cougars rallied to within 4 with 25.8 seconds left before finally running out of time, and Citrus hung on for an 85-81 win.

Best Comeback That Fell Short II: Antelope Valley, 1/11 vs. San Bernardino Valley. Four days after Citrus/COC, SBVC led AVC by 21 midway through the second half. But the host Marauders rallied to tie the score in the final minute, only to see SBVC get six free throws in the final 30.1 seconds and a key charging call on Da’Shawn Gomez to get the 74-68 win.

Best Game, Player, Playoffs: Marcus Johnson, LA Valley, deserves the nod but I’ve already talked about his 29-point game vs. Canyons…so let’s talk about his backcourt mate, Alex Strauther. The 5-10 point guard from Birmingham HS had 23 pts, including 3 threes, and dished out 12 assists (many of them to Johnson, no doubt) in that 75-61 win over Canyons. It’s a classic case of each player making the other better, and it worked to near-perfection in that win over the Cougars.

Best Performance, Overtime: Antelope Valley, 11/19 vs. LA Valley. After tying the game on a 3-pointer by Michaelynn Scott with 0.1 seconds left, AVC really hit its stride in overtime. The Marauders went 7-for-9 from the floor with 4 threes and just one turnover in the extra five minutes, led by Chris Bridges’ three 3-pointers, to pull away for an 89-82 win.

Best Play To Win The Game: Cerritos, 2/18 vs. El Camino. As time wound down on the game and Cerritos’ season, Kierre Beverly threw a nifty pass from the top of the key to Anthony Scott, who had cut towards the basket from the left elbow, for the winning shot in a 61-60 victory.

Best Play That Almost Won The Game: Darius McGee, Chaffey. The Panthers trailed, 89-88, with 0.3 seconds left in overtime but had the ball to inbound under the Mt. SAC basket. After a timeout, McGee slowly walked out onto the court, seemingly downcast, looking like he was channeling his inner Scottie Pippen (who notoriously sulked and, unlike McGee, refused to enter the game when, in a 1994 playoff game, the Bulls called for Toni Kukoc, not Pippen, to take the final shot). As the play started, McGee just stood, motionless, expressionless…until about the count of 3. Then he sprung to life and darted towards the basket, taking a perfect pass and going up for the game-winning shot! Unfortunately, he seemed to rush the shot, and it missed. A minor detail in a performance that was worthy of an Oscar nomination for his outstanding acting if not the actual basket.

Most Exciting Finish: Porterville trailed by 14 points in each half against Los Medanos on December 6th at the Modesto tourney, but rallied to take a 63-62 lead on a lay-up by Jason Carmichael with 31.3 seconds left. Los Medanos went back in front on a basket by Zack Corby with 12.7 seconds left. But Carmichael answered with another lay-up with 2.5 seconds left to win it for Porterville, 65-64. Carmichael saved his best for last; he finished with just 6 points for the game!

Bingo! Longtime Clippers’ broadcaster Ralph Lawler says “Bingo!” virtually every time someone on either team hits a 3-pointer. It’s a unique gimmick that can get really annoying when the teams hit a lot of 3-pointers. He’d have had plenty of practice on November 16th when Cypress and West LA combined for 25 threes. West LA won the Bingo battle with 15 treys, but Cypress won the war, 86-84.

Bingo! And then there was the West Valley-Cabrillo game on February 3rd that went one better. Yes, West Valley hit 14 threes and Cabrillo hit 12 more for a grand total of 26 threes! Cabrillo won the game 75-63, en route to the conference championship, but really everyone wins here…Bingo!

Wish Granted! Josue Mulamba was named MVP of the summer shootout at Azusa Pacific, and had 14 pts, 7 rebs and 6 blocked shots in Imperial Valley’s 69-65 win over Canyons in a tournament game in November. But according to the Imperial Valley Press, when Mulamba was removed from a game against Southwestern in late January, he was heard to scream “I don’t want to play anymore!”. Coach Tyson Aye apparently granted his wish and dismissed him from the team, and IVC eventually made the playoffs and won a postseason game at Allan Hancock.

On Fire! During an early-season tournament game vs. LA Trade Tech, College of the Sequoias trailed, 19-17, midway through the first half. But then the Giants made their next 8 shots (including 5 threes) and made 17 of 20 shots from the floor over a 13-minute span. That’s 85%…for one-third of the game!!! And yes, Seqouias eventually won the game, 89-55.

Hail To The Olympians! Things seldom come easy for SD Mesa, which finished 7-18 this season and tied for last in the PCC. But that was an improvement as Mesa had won 5, 5, 3 and 3 games over the last four seasons, and alone in last place each year. Plus…in the Charger summer shootout, Mesa beat host Cypress, 60-58, on a buzzer-beating lay-up by Dee Hugie. And…in the regular season, the Olympians rallied from an early 16-point deficit to beat Glendale, 72-67. So they were 2-0 when I watched them!

Working Overtime. I covered three regular season games featuring LA Valley this season, and they all went to OT. On November 19th, Antelope Valley got a game-tying 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds left and won, 89-82. But 11 days later, LA Valley prevalied over Ventura, 88-85, after neither team scored in the final minute of regulation time. Then on December 15th, LA Pierce tied the score with a lay-up in the final seconds, but LA Valley won in overtime, 74-69. The other LA Valley game I covered ended in regulation time, but it was a postseason victory over Canyons, so in a way that one was extra as well.

Orange Empire Conference play starts early… In the consolation final of the Bill Brummel tournament December 17th, host Saddleback took on OEC rival Irvine Valley. Neither team led by more than 7 points in regulation, and Irvine Valley came away with a 68-60 win in overtime.

…And Continues Late. In the regional semifinal on February 29th, host Saddleback took on OEC rival Riverside. It was the teams’ third meeting in about a month and the second in 12 days. Defenses dominated the night, and Riverside came away with a 50-41 win after holding Saddleback to 24% shooting.

Strangely, Saddleback was the OEC regular season conference champ. But I guess Irvine Valley wins the pre-season OEC championship and Riverside wins the postseason OEC title.

One Hundred! During the season that marks the 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game for the Philadelphia Warriors, the Long Beach City Vikings accomplished a similar feat nearly as unlikely: they attempted 100 field goals in a 106-74 romp past La Jolla Prep in the 3rd place game of the Bill Brummel Classic at Saddleback. LBCC entered that tournament 0-9 on the season but starting with a first-round win over the host Gauchos went 10-7 the rest of the way. But the game vs. La Jolla was the only time they – or anyone else I’ve ever covered at the JC level – attempted 100 shots!

Rally Thursday: On day 2 of the Chabot tournament on December 29th all four games featured teams rallying from a double-digit deficit. Merritt rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat Los Medanos, 58-50. Then Las Positas rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat DeAnza, 75-59. Finally, Contra Costa rallied from a 10-point deficit to beat Chabot, 64-56. The other game? Napa Valley rallied from a 13-point deficit against Alameda to take a 2-point lead, but Alameda eventually won, 73-64.

More Rallying: On Wednesday, January 11th, San Bernardino Valley traveled to Lancaster for a mens/womens doubleheader against Antelope Valley. In the womens game, AVC rallied from 19 points down in the final 14 minutes, but SBVC won it, 60-59, on a jumper by Melka Puryear with 2.2 seconds left. Then in the mens game, AVC rallied from a 21-point deficit in the final 10 minutes, but SBVC won it, 74-68. Two amazing late-game rallies by the same school on the same night…with the same result, namely, that the other team won both times!

Code Red! And finally, one of the more memorable road trips I’ve taken was to Mt. San Jacinto for a regular season finale against Antelope Valley College. It was an excellent game – AVC won, 82-75 – but what really made it memorable was the game experience, particularly the incessant racket created by MSJC’s cheering section known as Code Red. Coach Patrick Springer even made me an honorary member – and I have the t-shirt to prove it. I hadn’t been that far in that direction before, but it was a great time and I’ll try to get out there again next season.

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