BC basketball playoff run cut short

BC basketball playoff run cut short

Amber Hayden

BC swingman and WSC South MVP Deandre Dickson (23) floats it over three AVC defenders in the conference finale.

Mohamed Bafakih, Sports Editor

The 2014-15 men’s basketball season is officially in the books now, and there’s a lot for head coach Rich Hughes and assistant coach Aaron Chávez to be proud of after their respective 10 years of coaching at Bakersfield College.

It was a whirlwind season, which included just five returners and officially began on Nov. 13 against L.A. Trade Tech ending in a three-overtime thriller with the Renegades falling short, 88-85.

The resilience of the team played a role early on, however, as they’d win 10 of their next 13 games heading into the new year and conference play with breakout performances by 6-foot-9 freshman Deandre Dickson and freshman point guard Jameik Riviere (mostly coming off the bench).

Although the Renegades started conference play 2-1, the second half of January dwindled as they went on to lose four straight games and odds in favor of them going five straight years without a playoff appearance.

Nevertheless, before the start of the second half of conference play against L.A. Valley on Jan. 30, Hughes told his guys that “we’re 0-0 now” and to move forward from the losing streak.

The team rallied together and bought in as they’d reverse the four-game losing streak to a six-game winning streak to put them in playoff contention.

Despite not being able to cap off a perfect second half of conference as the Renegades dropped to the state’s seventh-ranked Marauders of Antelope Valley on Feb. 21 76-71, it was enough to earn them a trip into the postseason and ending the program’s four-year drought without a playoff appearance.

BC was given the 18-seed in the So-Cal Regional Playoffs and faced (15) L.A. Pierce College (17-12) on Feb. 25 in the first round.

This would be a rematch for the teams as they faced one another in the preseason at Pierce College where the Renegades dominated the Brahmas behind Dickson’s 18-point, 18-rebound performance and Riviere’s 16 points and seven assists, 72-54.

This meeting meant a lot more than the prior meeting, of course, so Pierce was locked in.

BC came in allowing 59.8 points in the last seven games, but gave up a season-high 95 points to the Brahmas.

Despite 18 of those points coming in overtime, this was still much higher than Hughes’ goal of holding teams to 60 points.

Just like in the first meeting, the Renegades were led by Dickson and Riviere who combined for 61 of the team’s 91 points. Riviere totaled a season-high 34 points to go along with eight rebounds and eight assists while Dickson finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, but it wasn’t enough as the Brahmas ended the Renegades’ run, 95-91.

Despite getting bounced in the first round of the regional playoffs, Dickson would finish the season among the elite in the state with averages of 18 points per game (12th), 11.8 rebounds per game (3rd), 2.5 blocks per game (7th) while shooting 49 percent from the field and tallying 505 points on the season – good enough for a Western State Conference South MVP title.

Riviere also grabbed a First Team All-WSC South honor. Riviere began the season as a sixth man, but would deservingly earn a starting spot averaging just under 20 points per game during conference.

Also making the list for the Renegades was freshman forward C.J. Johnson and sophomore guard Isaiah Rogers as honorable mentions.

With three of four players making the list for conference honors as freshmen, then adding the key returners in Lawrence Moore and Dequan Green along with the remaining core and possibly adding a few more freshmen to contribute, anticipations will be high for Bakersfield College men’s basketball heading into the offseason.