BC men eliminated

Basketball season ends at the hands of Chaffey in playoff opener

BC freshman guard Jamar Hammonds converts the game-winning dunk vs. College of the Canyons on Feb. 15

Sam L. Jaime, Sports Editor

The season ended for the Bakersfield College men’s basketball team Feb. 24, at the hands of a buzzer-beating circus shot by Chaffey in overtime. The Chaffey Panthers came out on top, 75-73 in the opening round of the postseason. “It was a one-in-a-million shot. It was a pretty incredible shot. He was falling down after taking. They took a shot and missed it then he tipped it one handed and missed it, then our guy kind of got a hand on it, but somehow his hand got displaced, and as he was coming down, he threw the ball up, and as he was falling, the ball went up and hit the corner of the backboard and somehow went in,” said head coach Rich Hughes.

The Renegades were not expected to even make the playoffs before the season began, instead going 20-10 on the season, capturing their 20th victory of the season in their regular season finale against Canyons Feb. 15. “We weren’t expected to do much, and you look at how you gauge a season. One, we won our conference. Two, you try and win 20 games, which is typically a benchmark, and we did. Three, you want to get into the playoffs, and we did that,” said Hughes.

The Feb. 24 matchup against Chaffey had similar characteristics to many of the Renegades previous games throughout the season.

In the early stages of the first half, the Renegades trailed by as much as 16 points, only to erase the deficit and lead by as many as nine points in the second half. “[Chaffey] made a lot of shots early, but we settled down and just kept defending, and slowly but surely we got back in it. During the second half there were moments where we had the momentum,” said Hughes, “One crazy shot and a few calls go our way in the second half, and we’re moving on, but you can’t say it was a bad season based on one game. It was disappointing, but they far exceeded everybody’s expectations, so I was really proud of them.”

The back-and-forth game was the 11th decided by three or less points, and marked the sixth time the Renegades had played in overtime, two of the previous times going into double-overtime.“It was the most interesting year for me, because I don’t think in my years of coaching, I don’t think I’ve had so many close games in one season. We lost eight games by three points or less. The swing of our season could have gone many different ways. It wasn’t my favorite part to be so many close games, because it’s stressful, but I would say it was the most interesting year I’ve ever had, considering overtimes and close losses and wins like that,” said Hughes.

Following the tough overtime loss, Hughes had some words for his players. “I told them I was proud of them, because they gave everything they had. We may not have played our best game, but we played hard and we did the things we felt needed to be done to win. When you lose on a crazy shot, there’s nothing you can do about that,” he said.

Looking ahead to next season, the Renegades have possibly six returning freshman, including guard Jamar Hammonds.

Hammonds averaged 16.5 points per game, and scored 30-plus points five times throughout the season. “The thing about our team this year was that everyone had a role, and [Jamar Hammonds] role from the beginning was to be a scorer. He has things he needs to work on to become an anchor, because right now he does one thing pretty well. It’s good to have someone that can score against really good teams, but everyone has a role to play, and his just happened to be from more of a scoring aspect,” said Hughes.

When asked about his favorite moments of this year, Hughes said, “My favorite is always Sopho

more Night, just seeing your sophomores going out with a ‘W,’ and they ended up going out with their 20th ‘W’ that’s always a favorite time of year too. I’m proud of their legacy, our sophomores are the first to win back-to-back conference titles in school history, since entering the conference in 1981.” Forecasting the future, Hughes said, “On paper it looks good, but it’s too early to tell what’s going to happen with those guys.”