Photo Show/AVC Christmas Gift

Posted: December 6, 2015 in AVC Men's Basketball, AVC Men's BB 2015-16, AVC Tournament

Christmas comes early for AVC men

The Marauders couldn’t figure out L.A. Harbor’s zone, they left at least three dunks on the back of the iron, and the Grinch that stole Christmas was getting a head start.


Too many times, the Gregg Anderson Memorial Tournament at Antelope Valley College has eulogized another great AVC men’s basketball start.

Then the Marauders started pressing and trapping the Grinch.

They kept him without a field goal for two different four-minute stretches.

When the buzzer sounded after Saturday night’s 80-59 dismissal of Harbor, The Gregg at long last was not a giant piece of coal in the Marauders’ Christmas stocking.

It was Christmas, 19 days early.

The Marauder Men remained unbeaten, and they set up a tournament championship bout today at 5 p.m. with equally unbeaten, and top-ranked San Bernardino Valley.

"This really may be more of a prelude," said AVC coach John Taylor. "We may see all these teams in this tournament in the southern California elite eight in February."

Gregg Anderson, you Santa’s helper, you.

The only two remaining unbeaten teams in SoCal community college basketball will collide for southland Supremacy, and the championship of The Gregg.

Had the late Rancho Vista scion been with us last night, he would have yelled himself hoarse haranguing the officials.

There were times Marauder bigs Kashif Williams, Ryan Wright and Gregory Wesley looked like they were being outfitted for saddles at Northern Afleet’s stable, the way they wore Seahawk rebounders like backpacks.

AVC trailed 19-11 early, as Harbor’s defense was more of a twilight zone.

"We knew the zone was coming," Taylor said. "But still, we hadn’t seen a zone so far this season. It disrupted our rhythm and timing."

Taylor went to a three-guard attack rotating Jalen Etienne, Chris Martin, Cory Dollarhide and Joseph Moorer.

"Out little guys started finding the lanes and the gaps in their zone," the Marauders coach said.

And then El Nino checked in at the scorers table.

It started raining three’s worthy of mention on the Weather Channel.

Long distance applied, since Etienne’s from Mesquite, Texas, Dollarhide’s from Inglewood, Martin hails from Los Angeles and Moorer calls Nashville, Tennessee home.

Three different times L.A. Harbor played 34 seconds of suffocating, frenetic defense, only to see one of AVC’s three-point amigos connect to the accompaniment of the shot clock buzzer.

The Marauders ended up shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc, and 34 percent from everywhere else.

In its 64-year history, the Marauders’ basketball homecoming tournament has long since retired the title of the toughest eight-man tournament to win south of the Tehachapis.

But when that remained the reality after the tournament was dedicated to Gregg Anderson’s honor, that was tough to take.

But maybe, it was the Valley’s greatest father figure’s tough-love lesson on figuring things out.

"I like when we get to these big games," Taylor said. "To be the best, you have to beat the best. Whatever happens (today), it will make us a better team."

Today is about taking that lump of coal in the Christmas stocking, applying withering pressure and turning it into a precious jewel.

"I don’t know what the Lord has planned for Gregg (today)," said Taylor. "But Gregg will be here with us. I just know it."

There’ll be at least one more empty seat.

The Grinch has moved on in search of a Christmas airball elsewhere.




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