Men’s hoops two wins away from postseason

Leanne Cave

As far as winning the Western State Conference is concerned, the Bakersfield College men’s basketball team (17-11, 7-3 WSC) controls its own destiny.

“If we win out, we can win conference,” said BC coach Rich Hughes. “We haven’t won the conference since 1998 or made the playoffs since 2001. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to win conference and make the state playoffs.”

The team’s destiny will begin tonight when the Renegades travel to College of the Canyons. The ‘Gades hope to be successful in getting the first of two victories in order to secure a conference title. Even though the team’s success is greatly due to an overall team effort, two players have contributed greatly with consistent scoring, rebounding and assists.

Terrence Johns, a product of Chicago, is averaging 22.5 points a game and is second in team rebounding.

“I was thinking of playing for Los Angeles Valley, but Coach Hughes recruited me and I chose to come here,” Johns said. “I like it better, it’s a better environment and I’ve adjusted to the system.”

Steve Alford, a product of South High, averages 13 points a game but contributes a great deal to the team with rebounding as well as assists.

Alford, who is interested in an acting career, says he and Johns help each other find openings and ways of scoring.

“He finds a way to get open and teams focus on him,” Alford said. “That gives me a lot of freedom to move around so I get a lot of shots.

Johns says of Alford, “He knows where I’ll be. When I drive, he knows where to cut in making the play.”

Johns shot his season average of 22 points plus one as he led the ‘Gades to a 78-74 victory over Santa Monica City College on Feb. 4. His 23 points plus nine rebounds helped BC improve to 16-11 and 6-3 in the WSC, and into a first-place conference tie with College of the Canyons and West Los Angeles College. Aaron Perez also helped with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Alford once again showed consistency in assisting in the win as he added 15 points.

In an exciting game against Los Angeles Valley on Feb. 11, Johns scored 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as BC remained in the conference title race by beating the Monarchs 63-58.

Johns, a business administration major, says he remains optimistic about the outcome of the season for the ‘Gades.

“If we come out hard like we did against L.A. Valley, we are capable of winning the conference and making the state playoffs,” he said.

BC hopes to continue to put a mark in the victory column as its travel to take on College of the Canyons in Valencia. The ‘Gades defeated the Cougars 78-77 on Jan. 21. Game time will be 7:30 p.m.

“We just have to win out down the stretch,” Hughes said.