Thanksgiving Classic sweep for BC basketball

Mohamed Bafakih, Sports/Online Editor

It has been a preseason feasting for Bakersfield College’s men’s basketball team as the Renegades have started the season 6-1, following a Thanksgiving Classic Tournament sweep hosted by BC here at Gil Bishop Sports Center.

Besides the 80-78 loss to Chaffey on Nov. 13 at the Fullerton Tournament, BC has outscored the six other opponents by an average of 24 points and is in the midst of a five-game winning streak.

Prior to the Thanksgiving Classic, the Renegades traveled to face familiar non-conference foe L.A. Pierce in an exhibition matchup on Nov. 20 where BC defeated the Brahmas, 86-74.

Pierce knocked BC out of the playoffs in the first round last year, but 50 percent shooting from the floor (33-for-66) and four-of-five starters in double-figures led by 6-9 sophomore Deandre Dickson’s 22 points and 13 rebounds powered the Renegades to a win.

The bench for BC played a pivotal role in the following game against Porterville in the opening day of the tournament on Nov. 27, however, as it accounted for 51 of the team’s 90 points.

Sophomore point guard Jameik Riviere came off the bench and had a game-high 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting, five rebounds and two assists in the 90-55 rout over the Pirates.

“I challenged him before the tournament, and he responded,” head coach Rich Hughes said. “He’s dynamite, and in my honest opinion he’s the best guard in the state of California.”

Riviere is averaging 15.6 points, 5.3 assists and four rebounds through the first seven games on 46.5 percent shooting from the field.

The following day, the win margin was a lot slimmer as the state’s 18th-ranked team, Fullerton (6-2), fell to BC, 72-65.

It was Dickson for the Renegades who led the way with 21 points (10-for-19 FGs), 12 rebounds and three blocks, while Nick Velasquez added 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting (3-for-3 from beyond the arc) and five assists.

Dickson joined teammate Lawrence Moore on the final day of the tournament on Nov. 29 as the leading scorers in a blowout win over Barstow (2-8), 95-64. Both Dickson and Moore finished with 16 points apiece, as Riviere and Velasquez tallied 14 points each.

Barstow managed to keep it close early as it went into the half down 33-25, but a 62-point second half performance for BC pulled them away from the Vikings.

The Renegades are ranked eighth in the state in points per game, averaging 86 points per game, but are also shooting at a high level as they’re ranked third in the state in field goal percentage (51.5).

Defensively, BC is forcing 18 turnovers (10th in the state) and is giving up 65.7 points per game – around how many Hughes wants from his team.

BC won’t make its return home until the conference opener against College of the Canyons on Jan. 9. The Renegades will be on the road throughout the following month with tournaments at Skyline (Dec. 11-13) and Allan Hancock (Dec. 28-30), and an exhibition against West Hills Coalinga (5-3) on Dec. 18.