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The coaster continues

Posted: February 10, 2010 10:30 p.m.
Updated: February 11, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Los Angeles Valley College's Javion Garner (21) outjumps College of the Canyons forward Rendon Dominguez on Wednesday at COC. COC lost 80-73.

An up-and-down season just took another dip for the College of the Canyons men’s basketball team, as it fell below .500 in Western State Conference play with an 80-73 loss to Los Angeles Valley College on Wednesday.

The Cougars managed to contain the Western State Conference’s leading scorer, Monarchs swingman Jerome Lowe, early in the first half. Lowe came into the game averaging 17.7 points per game.   

Clutch defensive plays from COC sophomore Brian Kimble, who finished 11 points and five steals, kept the Cougars close, and the score was 20-18 before COC’s offense began to falter 10 minutes into the game.

“We came out slow, and then we kind of got out of our gameplan,” Kimble said. “Once that happened, it kind of went downhill from there.”

While the Cougars did a good job of harassing the Monarchs into eight first-half turnovers, they gave up 13 of their own on offense.

Lowe, Robert Brown and Andrey Orlov managed to convert the opportunities into 3-pointers for L.A. Valley, and soon the Cougars fell behind 25-18 before COC head coach Howard Fisher burned his second timeout of the half.

Lowe finished the game with 17 points and seven rebounds for the Monarchs (12-12, 5-5).

“We didn’t execute our game plan, and as a result they got some easy shots,” Fisher said. “(The Monarchs) did a good job of capitalizing on our mistakes.”

L.A. Valley kept turning defense into offense, and even though the Cougars wanted to run, it was the Monarchs who did the damage in transition.

Fisher used his third timeout before the break after another 7-0 Valley run made it 41-27 Monarchs.

The Cougars (13-12, 4-5) went into the half trailing 45-29.

“Our idea was to let the defense generate the offense,” said Monarchs head coach Virgil Watson. “If we could stop them from scoring, then we could play. But we couldn’t outscore them.”  

The Monarchs shot an impressive 63 percent from the field in the first half. It was an atypical shooting night for Watson’s team, which has also had its share of “up-and-down” moments this season, he said.

In the second half, the Cougars clawed their way back in it with tough defense.

Kimble continued to make big defensive plays, aided by Rendon and Parker Dominguez and Chris Knott, who lost a tooth during a loose-ball scuffle in the second half.

It was typical of how things seemed to be working against COC on Wednesday. Knott was called for a foul on the play, and his team ended the second half with 14.   

Rendon Dominguez, who led his team with 19 points, hit a jumper off of a Rasheem Harris steal to bring the Cougars within 77-69, but the Cougars wouldn’t get any closer until Kulwinder Singh scored his team’s final bucket at the buzzer.

“It was just too big of a hole for us to dig ourselves out of,” Kimble said.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride of a season for the squad of 10 freshmen and two sophomores.

After the Cougars won their Western State Conference opener 73-62 over West L.A., they lost two games, won two, lost one and won one before losing to Bakersfield 82-75 on Saturday.


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