SBVC thrives under adverse conditions

first_imgAdversity is nothing new for the San Bernardino Valley College men’s basketball team. It’s been a common thread throughout the season and it hasn’t changed during the playoffs. The No. 3 seeded Wolverines (27-6) will host No. 6 seed Saddleback (24-8) in the Southern California Regional playoffs at 7 p.m. Saturday. The winner advances to the state tournament that starts Thursday at Selland Arena in Fresno. The Wolverines are looking for their third straight trip, although they have an entirely different cast and are under an interim coach. Sophomore forward Devon Davis (ankle), one of the two holdovers, was injured late in Saturday’s 69-62 win over Citrus. Sophomore guard Jamal Vandy (shoulder), the team’s top defender, is playing but not at full speed. They also missed some practice time this week with interim coach Gerry Wright, who was out of town after the death of his father last week. Wright left Sunday and returned Wednesday for practice, but had no assistant to coach the team in his absence. But players insist they’re ready to go. “We’re going to be doing the same things we have been doing all season,” freshman forward Johnny Barnes said. “We just have to go out and take care of business. We know what we have to do.” If Davis can’t go, Wright said Miller graduate Jeffrey Sawyer would start in his place. That would represent a considerable dropoff in size with Davis SBVC’s tallest player at 6-foot-7 and Sawyer the more traditional 6-3 guard. Joining him in the starting lineup are Barnes (15.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg), guards Lance Hurdle (14.9 ppg, 2.9 apg), Darrian McKinstry (15 ppg, 4.8 apg, 2.9 spg) and Lewis Leonard (12.1 ppg). Hurdle will be the sixth player from SBVC in three years to move on to Division I school, having commited to the University of Miami earlier this week. center_img The Gauchos, who opened the playoffs with a 60-42 win over Los Angeles City, have some ties to the Inland Empire too. Sophomore point guard Lamont Morgan is out of Diamond Ranch and Derek Richie (5 ppg, 2.2 apg), also a sophomore guard, is a product of Silverado. Morgan, who signed early with Brigham Young, is also good friends with Hurdle. “I can’t wait to play against (Morgan),” Hurdle said. “He is a great player and they’re a great team.” Morgan (6.8 ppg, 3.5 apg) is one of three Division I prospects on the squad with 6-9 forward Tremaine Ford (15.1 ppg, 10 rpg) headed to Cal State Northridge and 6-7 forward Gerard Anderson (13.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg) going to Cal State Fullerton. The teams have not played but did see each other at the tournament in Riverside in December. “They’re athletic just like we are and they are a lot bigger,” Wright said. “We have to keep the game moving. If we get in a half-court game with them it’s over.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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