AVC Slips Back to Losing Ways

Posted: December 3, 2018 in AVC Men's Basketball

AVC drops tourney finale

Ventura uses strong 2nd half to top Marauders

AVC basketball
JOHN SANDERS/Valley Press Sports Correspondent

Defense — Antelope Valley College’s Elie Ghomsi (23) tries to defend a Ventura player from behind during the final game of the 67th annual Gregg Anderson Memorial Tournament on Sunday.

LANCASTER — It wasn’t quite the auspicious ending to the annual Gregg Anderson Memorial Tournament that the Antelope Valley College men’s basketball team had hoped for.

After a one-point loss on Friday against Santa Monica, the Marauders won a thrilling game on Saturday against Rio Hondo.

So AVC seemed to be on a high.

It took that high for all of the first half and some of the second against Ventura.

Unfortunately, the Marauders had a poor shooting night overall and the Pirates took advantage, defeating AVC 71-60 on the final day of the tournament, Sunday evening at Antelope Valley College.

“I thought we started out good and we were able to get good shots, but then it seemed as if we couldn’t score which led to the avalanche,” AVC head coach John Taylor said. “We have a lot of stuff to work on. We’re committing too many mental errors.”

The Marauders (3-6) led the majority of the first half and were clinging to the lead early in the second. That was short-lived as Ventura (6-4) tied the score 40-40 with 13:17 remaining.

Former Quartz Hill player Lamont Landers, who attended AVC until he transferred to Ventura, was a thorn in the Marauders’ side. The former Rebel was 5-for-7 from 3-point range and finished with a game-high 20 points.

After the Pirates eventually took the lead 45-44, Landers netted a 3-pointer to give his team a 48-44 lead. The Pirates used an 11-2 run, including another 3-pointer by Landers which gave Ventura a 53-46 lead, its largest lead at the time.

Following two free throws by Surako Follings, the Marauders stayed close 53-48, however, Landers hit his third consecutive 3-pointer extending the lead to 56-48 with 8:04 remaining.

As a team, the Pirates hit 12 3-pointers and shot 42 percent for the game. One of the Achilles’ heels for AVC has been the ability to guard the 3-pointer. It gave up 12 against Rio Hondo and nine more to Rio Hondo players and we have two in the loss to Santa Monica.

“We show signs that we’re doing well, but then we shoot ourselves in the foot,” Taylor said. “We have a lot of you  players out and we’re starting to feel that. We’re going to have to get better and start improving quickly or this season will get away from us.”

A bucket by the Marauders’ Dion Troupe kept AVC within striking distance, only trailing 58-54. On the ensuing possession, AVC played solid defense having run the shot clock down to two seconds, but Ventura was able to score and extend the lead to 60-54.

“They hit some big 3’s and our shots just weren’t falling. We have to get back to the basics,” said Follings, who finished with 12 points. “I think we have to communicate more and get more physical. This is a very disappointing loss. This one hurts.”

The Marauders shot only 28 percent from 3-point range, connecting on only five. They were 34 percent from the field overall.

After missing a shot, the Pirates seemingly put the game away following a fast-break layup to extend the lead 62-54.

“Our shots weren’t going in, but we kept pushing. We tried our best,” said AVC’s Elie Ghomsi, who led his team with 16 points and eight rebounds. “We beat them in their house and we wanted to save our home court. Anything can happen and we have to learn from this.”

Ventura led 3-0 after scoring the first basket and the Marauders promptly used a 10-0 run to take a 10-3 lead. AVC led most of the half before the Pirates tied the score, but the Marauders gained a little momentum following a thunderous baseline dunk by Stephon Bell. AVC led 34-31 at halftime.

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