AVC Wins #15 (15-1)but There’s Work to be Done

Posted: January 7, 2016 in AVC Men's Basketball, AVC Men's BB 2015-16, conference, Rebounding

Its great to have a 15-1 record.

You know you have one of the top teams in the state, the team is tough and figures out a way to win games even if their best players aren’t available, and you can criticize aspects of game.  Example?  Rebounding.  AVC is being out rebounded an average of 7+ each game by their opponents.  In the article below from the Antelope Valley Press, it is clear that the coaching staff is fully aware of this  and now it is up to the team to fix it.

Marauders escape

By: John Sanders(AV Press)

LANCASTER – Sometimes teams that aren’t supposed to be too competitive in games play one of their best games of the season, while the better team on paper has what can be called an "off night."

Case in point Wednesday night when the Antelope Valley College men’s basketball team played host to Glendale College.

Sure, many people thought the Marauders were supposed to blow out the visiting Vaqueros, but sometimes that doesn’t happen.

But good teams usually find ways to win and even though Glendale put up a good fight, AVC found that way to hold on to a 75-71 come-from-behind victory in the Western State Conference opener for both teams.

"With that ‘AVC’ on our chest, we get everyone’s best game, so we have to understand that coming in," Marauders guard Chris Martin said. "Every team gets excited (to play us) and maybe they hit shots they don’t normally hit. We get every team’s best shot so we have to go out and play our best and give them our best shot."

AVC (15-1, 1-0 WSC), which is ranked ninth in the state and looking to defend its conference championship for the third year in a row since joining the conference, led 43-37 at halftime, but the Vaqueros came out in the second half and gave the Marauders their best shot.

Glendale (4-9, 0-1) opened the second half by hitting five of its first six shots and grabbed a 57-51 lead. AVC head coach John Taylor, however, saw a flaw in the Vaqueros defense and called a play called "snap," which was a pick and roll used to expose Glendale’s bigger players.

It worked.

The Marauders were able to use "snap" and went on a 19-6 run, seemingly taking control of the game and building a 72-63 lead.

"I don’t think we played our best game, but I thought we played a tough game mentally. We came through in the end and we found a way to win maybe not on our best night," Taylor said. "Their big guy, who hurts us offensively, hurts them defensively, so the game plan was to get him involved in some pick and rolls.

"We’re really good in the pick and rolls and we were able to take advantage of that and our guards are so talented."

Still, Glendale hung around and late in the game had its opportunities. The Vaqueros trailed 73-65 with less than two minutes remaining in the game, but used a 6-0 run as the Marauders missed an alley-oop dunk and two free throws.

Following two free throws by Glendale and needing to foul, AVC could have put the game on ice. However, the Vaqueros’ press forced the Marauders into a turnover with 11 seconds remaining.

But after stealing the ball, Glendale gave AVC a gift as it threw the ball away only two seconds later.

"The target on our back is getting bigger and bigger. We just have to find a way to come out and execute and we’ll be fine," said Martin. "Teams get confidence especially when we let them hang around. We have to step on them when the game starts and not give them that confidence."

Following the Vaqueros’ turnover, AVC’s Jalen Etienne was able to knock down two free throws to seal the victory for his team.

"Sometimes in these types of games you just have to grind it out. They’re a solid team, but we still have to execute," Marauders guard Cory Dollarhide said. "We pulled away and they made some plays. Down the stretch we just have to do a better job, but every win is a good win."

The game was close much of the first half as there were several ties and lead changes. The Marauders finally broke free and took a six-point lead late in the half, which they maintained into halftime.

"We have to get better on the backboards," Taylor said. "I think that’s a weakness for us and we’re aware of that. But you make some things up in terms of rebounding with our quickness and speed."

Despite being outrebounded 36-22 by Glendale, AVC’s in-your-face pressure defense forced the Vaqueros into 19 turnovers. The Marauders had four players in double figures: Etienne (14 points), Martin (13 points), Dollarhide (12 points) and Nevell Lenard (10 points).

Brandon Wade added nine points and led AVC with five rebounds.

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