SANTA CLARITA – Looking for redemption from last season’s first-round playoff loss, the COC men’s basketball team won their home opening tournament.
The Cougars opened up their season by hosting their fifth annual Clash of the Canyons Tip-Off Event.
Four teams were represented; College of the Canyons, Cuyamaca College, East L.A. College, and Santa Barbara City College.
In the first game, COC played against a young SBCC team, which only has 6 out of 15 players that are sophomores.
COC’s starting lineup was lead by three sophomore guards; Jaylen Bland, Ron Harris, and Terrez Scott.
Freshman starters were forwards Cameron Nelson and Jalani Davis.
Opening up the game on a 13-0 run, COC set the tempo the rest of the game as their defense lead to them holding the Vaqueros to only 20 points in the first half, which including SBCC shooting 20.8 percent from the field, 1-7 from three-point range.
SBCC did however go 9-12 from the free throw line.
Leading 43-20 at the half, COC was on fire, as they shot 50 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from three-point range, despite only going 5 for 9 from the charity stripe.
The second half, SBCC did come out a little stronger, but COC wasn’t going to give up a 23-point lead in their house.
Despite winning the second half by 8 points, it was enough to keep the lead, as they would win the game 51-82.
COC was lead by Jaylen Bland, with 17 points, Temjae Singleton with 6 rebounds, and David Horst with 5 assists.
Also, their defense was exceptional, holding SBCC to 30% from the field, and a miserable 9% 3FG percentage.
“Our intensity was tremendous, our defensive pressure was very good, as we held a quality team to 51 points,” said Head Coach Howard Fisher
Downsides to the game were the Cougars shooting 50% from the charity stripe.
Some of the team goals this season, according to Fisher are, “We wanna play 40 minutes of basketball, compete on every possession on the offensive and defensive end.”
Returning players, such as Terrez Scott, are ready to prove some people wrong this year.
“We were the underdogs last year, and this year we are still the underdogs, but this team is stacked, we’re going out for the wins, were not losing,” said Scott with a chuckle at the end.
This pays tribute to the team chemistry this COC team has built.
“We’re best friends on the court, and best friends off the court… we always got each others back,” Scott concluded.
COC would play Saturday against the East L.A. Huskies and win 60-69 to open their season on a high note.
Looking for their first conference championship since the 2006-2007 season, COC begins their next tournament tomorrow through saturday at the San Juan Hills classic in Irvine.