Renegades victorious at home, split on road

Leanne Cave

The Bakersfield College men’s basketball team, 14-11 overall and 4-3 in the Western State Conference, will return to action tonight at the Gil Bishop Sports Center after splitting a two-game road trip against Glendale and Citrus College.

The Renegades will take on West Los Angeles College, which is currently in second place in the WSC, while BC is currently third.

“If we win, it will put us back in a second place tie with West L.A.,” said BC head coach Rich Hughes.

While the men possess an overall winning record, every victory is important in hopes of securing a post-season playoff berth.

“It’s been an up-and-down season for us,” Hughes said. “We’ve lost a couple of close games that came down to the last shot, and we’ve won a couple of close games, also.”

The final shots (free throws) were definitely the case as BC lost the first of a two road game trip to Glendale 75-73.

The ‘Gades played well enough to beat Glendale, nailing 13 3-point shots, but fell two points short when Javon Jester made two free throws in the final seconds to seal the win for the home team. Jester led all scorers with 37 points.

Chicago product Terrence Johns led the way for BC as he accounted for 18 points, including four of the 13 3-point shots.

Steve Alford, a product from South High, contributed 15 points in the loss while three players, Andrew Ready, Maurice Lane and Josh Hawkesworth accounted for 27 points.

After the disappointing 2-point loss to Glendale, the ‘Gades rebounded nicely in the second road game as they defeated Citrus College, 80-78.

Johns was once again productive for the ‘Gades as he added 35 points to the win column and pulled down 11 rebounds.

“Johns is averaging about 22 points a game and a team leader in rebounds,” Hughes said.

Even though Johns was the leading scorer for BC against Citrus, it was an overall team effort.

Three other players scored in double digits as well: Aaron Perez from Claremont scored 15, Andrew Ready from Westinghouse scored 11 and Alford scored 10.

In one of the best games of the season, the ‘Gades came back to beat conference leading College of the Canyons, 78-77, and they had to get the win with Hughes sitting out on a one-game suspension.

Hughes was ejected from the Los Angeles Valley game one week earlier when he made a comment to the official.

“It was a bad case of professional judgement,” Hughes said.

However, he was pleased with the outcome of the Canyons game.

With several lead changes and exciting plays throughout the game, the winning bucket came down to the final 1.8 seconds.

Andrew Ready made what may be the play of the year for the ‘Gades as he banked in a driving layup to give BC the lead. Canyons had one final shot to win, but the ball hit high off the backboard preserving the victory for BC.

“We are the only team to beat the first-place team in the conference,” Hughes said.

Assistant coach Aaron Chavez was just as excited after the Canyons victory.

“The guys worked hard this week,” Chavez said. “They did everything the assistant coaches asked of them, and it showed tonight.”

With the victories over Canyons and Citrus in the history books, the ‘Gades will be tested the rest of the way in conference play.

BC will take the court tonight in an important contest against West L.A. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

BC then travels to Santa Monica for a Feb. 4 game before returning home for a Feb. 11 contest at 7:30 p.m. against Glendale.