You could see the parallels play out like something the Ancient Greeks would have scripted: team gets red hot, wins games, gets full of itself … then crashes hard.
They called it “hubris.” And both Mount San Jacinto College and San Bernardino Valley College were or are in various states of coping with the hubris that success creates. They are two of the top community college teams in Southern California: a combined 42-11 after Tuesday night’s 104-70 MSJC victory.
But the lack of energy and effort the Wolverines displayed had SBVC coach Quincy Brewer alternatively shaking his head in disgust and nodding his head like someone who expected to see what he saw Tuesday night: the loud crashing sound made when a team that hasn’t lost since December 19, a team on a 14-game winning streak, falls that hard.
“There was no energy, no team effort, no defense at all,” Brewer said. “This was probably the worst defensive effort I’ve seen in my coaching career at San Bernardino Valley College. I’m very disappointed that a team this talented would go out and compete that way.”
Brewer said he saw it coming, based on the way the Wolverines practiced for the last week: like a team, well, riding a 14-game winning streak. No defense, poor shot selection, a lack of discipline in all elements. Meanwhile, Mt. San Jacinto coach Patrick Springer can relate very, very well, because he endured his team’s own bout with hubris.
MSJC lost only one game before Christmas and at one point, was the No. 2 team in the state. Then, the Eagles went out and suffered back-to-back losses to SBVC and a .500 College of the Desert team in late January. Two victories later, a mediocre Miramar team beat the Eagles and Springer watched his blood pressure rise as his team’s once-lofty RPI fell.
“We went from being one of the best defensive teams in the state when you look at field goal percentage to giving up over 50 percent field goal percentage to teams that weren’t even .500,” he said. “Sometimes, when you play San Bernardino, or Fullerton or one of these elite teams, you automatically have their attention.
“Sometimes, it’s hard to have these guys’ attention. That’s why when you watch Quincy and me, we yell so much because that’s the only way we can get their attention.”
The Greeks had a chorus for that. With the playoffs looming, Brewer and Springer have to bring their own.
ODP water polo returns to CBU
California Baptist University’s Lancer Aquatics Center will be one of several pools around Riverside playing host to the Olympic Development Program (ODP) Boys Water Polo Championships March 1-3 and the ODP Girls Water Polo Championships March 15-17.
The events bring top age-group water polo players from around the country competing in a tournament-style event that goes beyond merely wins and losses. Officials from USA Water Polo will be present, taking notes to select players for their respective age-group USA Water Polo national teams.
“We are excited to bring our ODP National Championships back to Riverside,” USA Water Polo Senior High-Performance Manager Ann Laurence said. “The whole Riverside community always does a wonderful job of making USA Water Polo feel at home between fantastic facilities and excellent hospitality.”
For both tournaments, the games begin at 6 p.m. on Friday and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday at various pools throughout Riverside.
Highlanders’ roller coaster ride continues
You could blame it on the scenery, but UC Riverside usually plays very well in Hawaii, winning three of the last four years on its island excursion. But two nights after setting the perfect trap for UC Santa Barbara, the Highlanders fell through their own trap door, going down by 21 points at halftime (50-29) and falling, 87-64 to the Rainbow Warriors.
The wild week was highlighted by Dikymbe Martin earning Big West Athlete of the Week honors for the first time this season and second time in his career. This, after Martin became only the fifth UCR player in the Division I era to score 1,000 career points. Martin did the honors on a layup during Thursday’s 71-57 thrashing of the Gauchos, joining Larry Cunningham, Taylor Johns, Rickey Porter and Jaylen Bland in Club 1,000.
He followed that 18-point night with a 22-point night against Hawaii that featured a career-high six 3-pointers. For the week, Martin hit 66.7 percent of his shots beyond the arc.
As Martin continued writing his name in the UCR record book, Ajani Kennedy took a step back. The sophomore forward from Rancho Verde High, who was carving out a nice niche for himself this season, was suspended for a violation of an unspecified team rule before last Thursday night’s game. Kennedy did not play in Hawaii.
“He didn’t do anything school-wise to mess him up, but we have rules and standards we live by and I won’t drop that bar for anyone,” said UCR coach David Patrick, who hadn’t decided as of last week if Kennedy will be back for Saturday’s game at the SRC against Long Beach State.
Start the streak again
In a year where women’s basketball teams in the area have perfected the art of the streak; witness Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and its current 19-game winning streak and Cal Poly Pomona and its 11-game and six-game streaks, the four-game streak the UCR women put together seems rather modest.
Given the way it brought the Highlanders (12-12, 6-4) back into the Big West picture, it’s anything but. After losing its first two conference games – to UC Davis and Long Beach State – UCR has won six of its last eight and five of its last six. The only setback in the latter streak came when UC Davis – itself on a nine-game tear – snapped the four-game winning streak on Valentine’s Day.
“They are the best team in the conference and it really showed,” UCR coach John Margaritis said.
What else has showed this year is the emergence of Jannon Otto as one of the conference’s elite scorers, much to the delight of Margaritis, who began the year wondering who would take the bar from the graduated Michelle Curry and score.
Otto is second in the Big West in scoring (20.2 in conference/15.6 overall). Her 30-point game in UCR’s bounceback 80-66 victory over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Saturday was her sixth consecutive game in double digits and her sixth conference game scoring at least 20 points.
A junior transfer from New Mexico by way of Victorville, Otto is shooting 53.2 percent from the field and 86.7 percent from the free-throw line. About the only thing stopping her is, well, her. She’s fouled out of five games this season.
Speaking of CMS, the Athenas clinched the outright SCIAC regular season title with that 19th consecutive victory Sunday, beating Cal Lutheran 57-43. It marked the sixth consecutive season CMS (23-2) has won at least a share of the SCIAC title and the Athenas can tie the school mark for season wins by beating Redlands in the conference tournament opener tonight.
Again, look no further for the reason than defense. Junior guard Maya Love earned her second SCIAC Defensive Player of the Week Award after keying a defense that held two of its three opponents last week: La Verne and Cal Lutheran, without a field goal for an entire quarter.
Against La Verne, the Athenas forced La Verne to miss its last 28 shots from the field — including all 15 in the fourth quarter.
Keep an eye on
— University of Redlands junior forward David Menary and junior guard Cassandra Lacey, who gave the Bulldogs a sweep of the SCIAC Offensive Athlete of the Week awards. Menary averaged 19 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in Redlands’ two victories – victories that clinched a berth in the SCIAC Tournament. Lacey, the SCIAC’s leading scorer (18.1) scored a career-high 34 points in the Bulldogs’ 74-67 win over Cal Lutheran, then hit the game-winner in Redlands’ 52-51 victory over Caltech – a must-win game for postseason hopes.
— CMS junior diver Kendall Hollimon, who won the SCIAC one-meter and three-meter diving titles at the SCIAC Swim/Dive Championships. Hollimon has won five conference titles in three seasons.
— CMS junior guard Miles President, who was named SCIAC Men’s Basketball Defensive Player of the Week after helping the Stags to a 3-0 record and home court for the conference semifinals Friday night. For the week, President blocked four shots and locked down Occidental’s Caleb Yellin-Flaherty in the Stags’ 65-57 victory, holding him to one second-half point after Yellin-Flaherty scored 19 in the first half.
— Cal State San Bernardino freshman thrower Victoria Soto, who was named CCAA Field Athlete of the Week. Soto began her college career by breaking the school record in the discus (37.9 meters) at the Pomona-Pitzer All Comers Meet. After finishing second in that event, Soto finished fourth in the shot put (9.98 meters).
— The Cal Baptist softball team, which dismantled softball power Fresno St., 8-0, behind two home runs from Brittany Galvez and a one-hitter from Kellye Springstead. Galvez’s first homer was not only the first by a Lancer in the Division I era, but came on the first pitch she saw. Fresno State, which won the NCAA title in 1998, was picked to finish second in the Mountain West.
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