Conference play opens this evening for both the Bakersfield College Men's and Women's Basketball Teams, and if you are fan of postseason scrambles, well…it's a great time to be a fan of the Renegades!
Coach Rich Hughes of BC Men's Basketball says that there are five teams in his conference, and any one of them-including the Renegades-could seize the crown. But Coach Hughes feels like there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about BC repeating and defending their crown from last season.
"We are prepared. We have played the most games that I've ever played in the history of my career leading up to conference play," Hughes said, “We have three games on the road in the first round, and only one at home, but we are prepared for that. We have played 21 games, with 17 of those on the road, we just have to close out games better at this point of the season."
BC has indeed played more games than any of the other teams in the Western State South, and more importantly, they have more wins than any of the other contenders for the crown.
The Renegades are 13-8, and that record comes against some of the toughest teams in the state of California, and a variety of defensive and offensive approaches.
"We've played and beaten ranked teams, and we've played teams-by design-that will prepare us for the challenges of conference play; this is what it all comes down to…if we want to play for the conference title, this is when it all has to come together," Hughes said.
Last season, BC had two of the top players in the state in point guard Jameik Riviere and wing Deandre Dickson. That duo would often account for the majority of the team's offensive production, but this year's team is wired much differently.
"We have multiple guys that can score and we have guys that can do different things," Hughes said, "Sean Le Flore plays excellent defense and he has shut guys down time and again this season. His ability to shut down the opposing teams' scorer might be one of our biggest strength’s."
Le Flore has scored in the double-digits in four of BC's 21 games this season, and only more than 15 once in his 17-point outburst in a 78-77 loss to Mt. San Jacinto back in November. http://www.cccaasports.org/sports/mbkb/2016-17/boxscores/20161127_758i.xml
"If you look at the box scores, you are missing the bigger point about what Sean does for us," Hughes said, "there may have been games where he scored two points. But in the same game, he shut down the opposing team's top scorer."
BC (13-8) opens conference play on the road today at 5p at Pierce College (9-11). They will make their home conference debut this Saturday, January 21st at 3p when they host Santa Monica College while observing the significant contributions made by the late Coach Brian Carter.
Carter, most recently the Head Basketball Coach at South High School, died in a single-vehicle accident in September and left a young family and a legacy of selflessly helping student athletes.Coach Hughes and the BC Athletic Department will commemorate Coach Carter's life and contributions with the presentation of a one-of-a-kind keepsake to his family after the game, and a reception in the Fireside Room following.