By Bonta Hill
Fresh off a 39-point victory over San Joaquin Delta, the seventh-ranked team in California, City College’s men’s basketball team started conference play this past Wednesday night, January 7th by thumping the Cañada Colts 81-60.
The sixth-ranked Rams improved their record to 17-5 (1-0).
Going up against a team with only two wins for the season and playing without starting center DeRon Sims, the Rams jumped out with a 10-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game. Things then got interesting as Cañada battled back and briefly took a 16-15 lead as the Rams’ game got sloppy.
Looking for a spark against the Colts, who are desperate for a win, head coach Justin Labaugh inserted reserve guard Steven Brown into the game for a much needed boost. This turned out to be the move of the night as Brown got hot from the three-point line to turn this game into a rout. Brown hit six three-pointers — all in the first half — and sent his team into the locker room with his final three-pointer at the buzzer that put the Rams at 45-28.
Brown explained his hot streak had a simple approach: “Just let it go.”
“I just gotta keep shooting, building that confidence,” Brown said, chuckling. “It feels good to be in a zone like that.”
Labaugh also noted that Brown played for Cañada’s head coach Peter Diepenbrock back in high school, which gave Brown some motivation.
“Steven [Brown] hit all six of his shots in front of the Cañada bench, and that’s all he did,” Labagh said jokingly. “It’s big for us to have that off our bench.”
In the second half, a spirited rally by Cañada cut the Rams lead to ten, but the Rams turned it on down the stretch to finally put this game away.
However, Labaugh is concerned about the mistakes and sloppiness, and noted that his team gave up six baskets with less than four seconds on the shot clock.
“We have to make an adjustment in practice and look at the tape to see what we did wrong,” Labaugh said. “That takes away some of the preparation time for Ohlone.”
Going forward, Labaugh knows his team must improve a lot, and bring energy to every game like it’s the championship.
“Were not going to win this league with that type of intensity,” Labaugh said. “We just can’t look at teams and assume were going to win because of the jersey we have on.”
At the end of the day, a win is a win, especially by 20 points. Labaugh did feel good about that.
The Rams next game will be at the Wellness Center on Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. against Skyline College.