Broncos’ Gordon named CCAA top player

Cal Poly Pomona forward Larry Gordon has been named Wilson California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Mens Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 24-30.

Gordon, a 6-foot-5 junior from Pomona, Calif., recorded his fifth consecutive double-double of the season on Sunday after scoring 21 points and totaling 10 rebounds in a 68-64 victory over Le Moyne College.

Gordon currently ranks third in the CCAA in scoring with 17.9 points a contest and second in rebounding with 8.9 boards a game.

Cal Poly Pomona resumes CCAA play on Friday when it hosts Cal State Dominguez Hills beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The weekly honor on the women’s side went to Sonoma State’s Danae Wellender.


Broncos post win over LeMoyne 68-64

When youre struggling, nothing is easy. So the Cal Poly Pomona mens basketball team was happy with a win no matter what it looked like.

Larry Gordon and Angelo Tsagarakis combined for 41 points to lead the Broncos to a 68-64 nonconference win over LeMoyne (NY) on  Sunday at Kellogg Gymnasium. The victory helped erase the memory of a poor performance in Las Vegas two weeks ago that resulted in two losses by a combined 27 points.
It also proved something to build on as the Broncos (2-5, 1-1) get back to conference play next weekend.

We had a better fighting spirit tonight, said Broncos coach Greg Kamansky, who has been critical of his teams lack of heart this season. We made some free throws down the stretch when it was close and we could have folded the tents. So that was encouraging. We just need to be more consistent.

Gordon, a Montclair High School product, finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth consecutive double-double. Tsagarakis had 20 points, six assists and four steals.

Kevin Neveau and Kyle Krause shared playing time in place of Kaelen Daniels, who was serving a one-game suspension after being ejected from the Broncos second game in Las Vegas. Krause scored 10 points and Neveau had six, although both fouled out.

Players said they were only concerned with what they could contol – their own effort level.

We havent been doing what we needed to do, Gordon said. It wasnt about what the other team was doing. It was about us playing harder and being more aggressive. You may not always be playing your best but if you play hard, things still might go your way.

LeMoyne (6-6), a Division II school out of Syracuse, N.Y., led only once at 2-0.

The Broncos were ahead by 14 points after an 11-0 run made it 30-16 with 2:31 left in the first half. The Dolphins answered that with a 7-0 run and trailed at the half, 30-23.

Cal Polys biggest lead in the second half was 10 at 41-31 but the Broncos couldnt put the game away.
Gordon scored on a putback with 4:47 left that gave the host team a 49-43 lead. The Broncos then tallied 17 of their last 19 points from the free-throw line, missing just four tries in that stretch with Tsagarakis going 6-for-6. It was a significant accomplishment since the Broncos entered the game hitting just 58 percent from the line.

The Broncos were up 64-60 when LeMoynes Laurence Ekperigin, who led the Dolphins witrh 23 points, hit two free throws to close the gap to two with 22 seconds left. But Pomonas Rich Collins hit two at the other end to put the game away.

I wasnt surprised it was a close game because I know where we are right now, Kamansky said. Hopefully we can get something positive out of this and go from here.

The Broncos shot 51.3 percent (20-for-39) while the Dolphins hit just 47.1 (24-for-51) including a woeful 39.1 (9-for-23) in the first half. The Broncos finished with a 30-25 edge in rebounds despite Daniels absence. Each team had 16 turnovers.

The Broncos play host to Dominguez Hills on Friday and Cal State Los Angeles on Saturday. The Dolphins played Cal State L.A. last  Friday and were beaten by the Eagles by 20.

We know that anything can happen once conference play starts again, Gordon said. Were looking at it as a chance to start over because were still only 1-1 in conference.

Rainville’s bucket lifts Cal State women

SAN BERNARDINO Senior center Vanessa Wilt was the logical choice for the last shot, but she wasnt open. Junior forward Jaclyn Rainville was and Ashlee Ford spotted her just in time.

Rainville got a pass from the sophomore point guard, then hit a jumper right in front of the basket as time expired, boosting Cal State San Bernardino to a 75-74 non-conference win over Ferris State (Mich.) on Saturday at Coussoulis Arena.

It was perhaps the biggest win of the season thus far for the Coyotes (8-1). And it came over a foe that made the NCAA Tournament a year ago.

This will be a big confidence builder for us, Wilt said. It lets us know we can play with anyone, even teams that made the NCAA Tournament. We can make the tournament too.

Wilt scored 32 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and and blocked three shots to give her a double-double for the ninth consecutive game, but it was Rainville delivering at the last second.

The Bulldogs (7-4) had taken a 74-73 lead on a 3-point play by Teghan Thelen with 26 seconds left.
The Coyotes Shanae Blake missed a 3-pointer on the other end and a scramble for a loose ball ensued.

The alternate possession arrow pointed to Cal State San Bernardino, and coach Kevin Becker called a timeout to set up a play. But when the teams came out of the break, officials said the arrow was incorrect and gave the ball to the Bulldogs.

That meant the Coyotes had to foul, with Ford getting a hand on Katie Loosvelt with nine seconds left. She missed the free throw and Rainville grabbed the loose ball. Rainville unleashed the pass to Ford who drove down court, then went to the baseline.

I was open and she (Ford) made a great pass, Rainville said. Im sure everyone thought we were going to Vanessa, but I had a good, open shot.

It ended a competitive game that featured nine ties, the last one at 71-71 with 2:37 left. Other than 3-0 to start the game, Cal States biggest lead was two points at 25-23. Ferris State led by as many as seven in the opening half at 16-9 and by eight in the second half at 47-39 at the 16:08 mark.

Ferris State shot 50 percent (30-for-60) for the game and a sizzling 58 percent (17-for-29) in the opening half. It had balance with 11 players figuring in the scoring and led by senior Rachel Folcik, who had 23. She also grabbed seven rebounds.

Only five players factored in for the Coyotes, but four of them accounted for 73 of the teams 75. Sophomore Krystal Urzua had 19, including three 3-pointers, Rainville scored 13 points and Blake scored nine as the Coyotes shot only 37.3 percent (28-for-75).

The Coyotes trailed 67-64 when they turned up the pressure defensively and forced Ferris into turnovers on back-to-back possessions. Blake then hit a 3-pointer to tie it with 4:25 left. It was tight the rest of the way.

We went more to the press. That takes some of the thinking out of it, Becker said. We were able to make some things happen and took advantage of that on the offensive end.

Coach is always telling us we own the last five minutes, Rainville said. Tonight we really did.

The Coyotes return to conference play next weekend in hosting Cal State Los Angeles Friday and Dominguez Hills on Saturday.

Cal Poly women fall to Seattle Pacific

LA JOLLA – Prior to Saturday night’s game, Cal Poly Pomona coach Scott Davis said No. 15 Seattle Pacific is a strong contender for this season’s Division II women’s basketball title. The Falcons and Broncos played a close first half, but Seattle Pacific pulled away in the final 20 minutes to win 77-58 in the second day of the CCAA/GNAC Challenge, played at UC San Diego.

“The fight we showed tonight against an unbeaten team, and one that probably will be ranked in the top 10 this week pleases me,” said Davis, whose team saw a two-game winning streak end. “Our execution needs to be better, but overall, we fought real well and didn’t give in.”

Junior Andrea Ohlssen led the Broncos, now 3-5 overall, with a career-high 21 points that included a 5-for-7 effort from the 3-point line. Senior Vanessa Dominguez put together her second successive positive night with 18 points and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Her efforts followed a 19-point effort in the Broncos’ 68-62 win over Western Washington on Friday.

Cal Poly Pomona stayed with the unbeaten Falcons (9-0) and trailed just 30-28 at halftime on the strength of an 80-percent effort from the free throw line (4 of 5) and a 4-of-7 showing from the 3-point line.

Cal Poly Pomona’s Natasha Reed hit three free throws in the first two minutes of the second half to tie the game at 31-31, but that tie would not last long as the Falcons would go on a 15-3 run over the next six minutes to pull away for good.

After Ohlssen and Dominguez, Reed was next in scoring with five points.

Kelsey Burns sparked the SPU surge with three 3-pointers over that span, the last of which put the Falcons up by a 46-34 score with 12:18 to go in the game.

“In the second half, their maturity and composure took over,” Davis said. “For 25 minutes, we stood up and played awfully well. They’re a pretty complete team.”

Burns scored a team-high 17 points, 15 of which came in the second half, while Melissa Reich added 12 points and five rebounds. Jackie Hollands added 10 points and Beth Christensen posted nine points, six rebounds and six assists, giving her 14 assists in the tournament.

Two stats showed the difference in the game. The Falcons’ bench outscored CPP – 43-9 – and their inside players owned a 26-12 scoring advantage in the paint.

The Broncos return to the court Friday night when they play host to CS Dominguez Hills. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

Chaffey women off to good start

Chaffey College womens basketball coach Gary Plunkett thought he had a talented crop of freshmen coming in,  so he thought this years version of the Panthers would be able to pick right up where last years left off. So far that has been the case.

The Panthers (13-3) head into the heart of the Foothill Conference schedule as one of the favorites, along with Mt. San Jacinto and San Bernardino Valley College.

Chaffey has competed in four tournaments, winning one, finishing second once and winning the consolation bracket twice. The Panthers are ranked 15th in the state and ninth in the South.

I had high hopes and so far they have been fulfilled, Plunkett said. I felt like we had some really skilled players coming in, especially at the perimeter. They have been able to adapt quickly so I am very pleased.

The veteran is sophomore guard Christina Warren (15.9 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, 2 assists per game, 1.5 steals per game), who has earned all-tournament honors in three of Chaffeys four events and is a returning all-conference selection.

But the core of newcomers that Plunkett is excited about is led by freshmen guards Keisha Mackall (Miller HS) and Tamesha Jackson (Upland HS). Mackall (12.3 ppg, 4 apg, 2.8 spg) has also earned three all-tournament nods, including an MVP selection at Irvine Valley. Jackson (11.9 ppg, 3.9 apg, 3.4 rpg), third on the team in scoring, was a coveted recruit also sought after by local rivals Citrus and Mt. San Antonio College.

Tamesha is the better athlete. She has got that quick first step, Plunkett said. Keisha has that court savvy and more big-game experience having played for a CIF championship.

While that trio has provided the scoring punch, Plunkett has also gotten productivity in the paint from the other two starters  freshmen Johnshunay Parsons (7.6 rpg) and Aundria Anderson (7.6 rpg, 9.2 ppg).

The Panthers return to the court at 1 p.m. Saturday with a road game at Victor Valley. The next home game will be Jan. 5 against Barstow. While Plunkett was quick in pointing out the three frontrunners, he added that Antelope Valley and Rio Hondo could also be a factor.

We have to see how it all plays out, but there should be some great games, he said.

Struggling Broncos look for non-conference win tonight

POMONA – The season is starting to wear on Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball coach Greg Kamansky. And it is only six games old.

The Broncos are just 1-5, their worst start since going 1-6 to start the 1981-82 campaign. They have a chance to get back on track tonight as LeMoyne (6-5), a Division II school out of Syracuse, N.Y. stops in for a 4 p.m. game at Kellogg Gymnasium. It will be the final non-conference tune-up for the Broncos, who resume CCAA play the following weekend.

The record isn’t what bothers the veteran coach the most. It is the way his team has looked in those losses. He sees a lack of competitiveness, heart and organization, especially on the offensive end of the court.

“We don’t have the most talent so we can’t afford to play stupid,” he said. “We have to go out there and want to compete. The way things have been going lately, if one thing goes bad, it completely breaks our spirit and we’re not able to bounce back.”

Kamansky would like to think his team has a shot at turning things around but nothing he has seen leads him to believe that will happen.

“There’s blood in the water and the sharks are circling and we’re looking like good bait,” he said. “I’m sure our opponents can’t wait to get their hands on us, especially the teams we have had our way with the last few years.”

The Broncos lack of depth will be further tested tonight as they will be without 6-foot-7 senior center Kaelen Daniels (6.8 ppg, 3 rpg) who was ejected from Cal Poly’s last game against Central Washington in Las Vegas for throwing a punch.

Senior Kevin Neveu (6.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg) will inherit the majority of the playing time in Daniels’ absence.

The Broncos have gotten solid play out of junior forward Larry Gordon (17.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg), who earned all-tournament honors in Las Vegas despite the 0-2 showing. He ranks fifth in the conference in socring and second in rebounding.

But the Broncos will need a steadier effort from erratic senior guard Angelo Tsagarakis (13.8 ppg), as well as sophomore Donnelle Booker (6.6 ppg), who thus far has looked little like the player who earned CCAA Freshman of the Year honors last season.

Kamansky said the next three games will prove crucial. After today the Broncos, who were picked to finish second in the conference, get back to CCAA play with home games Friday and Saturday against Dominguez Hills and Cal State Los Angeles. Despite the poor start Cal Poly is still just 1-1 in conference.

“If we can win two out of three then we’ll at last have something to hang our hat on,” he said. “But the the way we have been playing we’re just as capable of losing all three. I don’t know what to expect.”

LeMoyne, which plays in the Northeast-10 conference, arrived earlier in the week and squared off Thursday against Cal State Los Angeles, losing 76-57.

Sophomore forward Laurence Ekperigin (17.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg) is the Dolphins top player. Two others – senior guard Jason Holmes (13.4 ppg) and senior forward Jonathan Joshua (10.8 ppg) – are also averaging double figures.

Ekperigin had 12 points and nine rebounds in Thursday’s game against the Golden Eagles.

Former Redlands coach helping out at Grinnell

Once watching their respective teams rival each other for national scoring titles, David Arseneault and Gary Smith are now sitting on the same bench.

Arseneault (left photo) is in his 19th year coaching the Grinnell College men’s basketball team, and the run-and-gun system he developed for the Pioneers in the early 1990s continues to make national headlines. Smith (right photo) is recently retired from a 37-year coaching career at the University of Redlands (Calif.). During that time he ran up-tempo offenses in two different stints, the second a direct offshoot of Grinnell’s style.

Frequent meetings and a shared philosophy forged a friendship between the two coaches. That led to Smith’s decision after retirement to move to Grinnell, where he lives with Arseneault’s family while serving as a first-year volunteer coach for the Pioneers.

In fact, before Smith’s retirement was official, the two coaches had managed to set up a game between their programs on Jan. 6, 2008, in California. Although still an anticipated battle for Grinnell, the contest won’t feature the intended unique twist as Redlands has converted to a more traditional style of play this season.

Arseneault and Smith share equal praise for each other and what each brings to a basketball program. “David has a very intuitive sense and feel of the team,” said Smith. “He does a great job of seeing how things are presented in practice and then making the necessary adjustments.”

“You couldn’t have two more different coaching styles,” added Arseneault of Smith. “He’s the most organized person I’ve met and I’m at the reverse edge of the scale. I think it’s good for our players to see that other side rather than just my style.”

Arseneault can still remember introducing his system a few years after starting at Grinnell. “We had a group of recruits who seemed really enthusiastic to play this style. They had a different mentality than the returning core of players, a group that maybe lost one too many games over the years. I tried to keep them apart for that reason, so we formulated groups. I didn’t want the upperclassmen not to play, but also didn’t want them to affect the exuberance of the newcomers. So that’s kind of how it started.”

As time went on, more and more coaches wanted to know the finer points of the system, which implements up-tempo play, plenty of 3-pointers, pressure defense and frequent five-player substitutions. “I’d say that’s what a third of my job duties consist of, answering inquiries about our system from all over the country,” Arseneault said.

Smith actually ran up-tempo ball at Redlands two decades ago. “We played fast before there was such a thing as the Grinnell system,” he recalled. “Back in the late 80s and early 90s we were running, only that was more of the Loyola Marymount system. But we eventually went away from that due to personnel.”

After some time back in the traditional mode, Smith longed for a return to the fast style. “I wanted to get back into it,” he said. “I missed it and knew what Grinnell was doing back here. I like playing fast and our program needed a shot in the arm. We’d hit a down slope and I figured something different might work to turn us around.”

That led Smith to track down Arseneault and learn what he could. “Gary contacted me and said he felt his kids could run, so he was wondering if he couldn’t learn more about our system,” said Arseneault. “He tried it for a year and it wasn’t working very well I could see that on the game film he sent me.”

Smith agreed with Arseneault’s assessment of the trial period. “Let’s just say the first year was not very productive,” Smith laughed. “In hindsight, I think I tried to complicate things too much. I sent David the game films and then came back here the next summer. That’s when I got that close-up look and found out how to do it the right way.”

That close-up look eventually paid dividends. After Grinnell won 11 consecutive Division III national scoring titles from 1994-2004, Redlands broke that string in 2005 with a still-record 132.4 points per game. Grinnell regained the scoring title the next season, only to have Redlands win it in 2007.

“Sure enough, once he got the hang of it he went on to break all of our records,” Arseneault said with a laugh. “The one year his team averaged 132 points a game. I thought it was pretty impressive the year we scored 126, but 132 I don’t get it.”

Smith will have mixed feelings when he returns to Currier Gym, the home court for Redlands. “It will be fun getting back there, but it will also be very different to be in that gym with my (former) team sitting on the other bench,” he said. “I don’t really know how to describe the feelings that will be going through me.”

Cal State men have momentum after 2-0 showing in Las Vegas

The Cal State San Bernardino men’s basketball team looked impressive in its two games at the Great Western Shootout in Las Vegas last week. The Coyotes (9-1) defeated Central Washington, 83-60, and Western Washington, 71-65, to improve to 4-0 against teams from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference

That could loom large down the stretch because the California Collegiate Athletic Association, GNAC and Pacific West conferences all are battling for the same spots in the Division II West Regional come March. More impressive is the fact that all four victories came on a neutral court.

“That is going to help us down the road but we still have to take care of business in the conference,” coach Jeff Oliver said. “The conference is very deep this year. There aren’t going to be any easy games.”

Oliver saw a huge bright spot in each of the games. Central Washington went in averaging 92.8 points per game and were held to 60 by the Coyotes’ “monster” defense. The Wildcats managed only that many because Oliver emptied his bench early.

Then against Western Washington, the Coyotes bounced back from a 13-point, first-half deficit to pull out the game in the last two minutes.

“We showed a lot of character and really kept our composure down the stretch,” Oliver said. “Our guys made the plays in the end when they had to.”

Six of the Coyotes’ nine victories and 7 of 10 games have come against teams with a winning record. Cal State’s seven above-.500 foes have a combined 38-15 record, and two teams have lost only to the Coyotes.

The team’s balance is paying off as six different players have led the Coyotes in scoring in the 10 games. Senior guard Lance Ortiz leads Cal State (13.4 points per game) but is followed closely by senior center Michael Earl (12.4 ppg) and senior backcourt mate Marlon Pierce (10.2 ppg). Ortiz and Pierce are the only Coyotes to have started all 10 games.

Earl leads the CCAA in field-goal percentage (.703) and blocked shots (30); Ortiz leads in steals (28), is second in assists (5.40 pg) and third in free-throw percentage (.875).

The Coyotes will return to action Jan. 4-5, hosting games back-to-back nights against Cal State Los Angeles and Cal State Dominguez Hills, bottom-tier teams in the past which had great recruiting classes and are expected to contend this season.

After that, the Coyotes will play 8 of 10 on the road.

La Verne women win in Cancun

Undeterred by the scenic backdrop and tropical climate of Cancun, Mexico, the University of La Verne womens basketball squad kept its focus to deliver an 82-54 triumph over Kings College (PA) on Day 2 of the Caribbean Hoops Showdown at the Moon Palace Resort.

Marissa Raya continued her momentum from a night earlier and sparked the Leopards offensively with a game-high 30 points on the evening. Raya finished 13-of-21 from the field including a 4-of-10 effort from three-point range.

Trenecca Jones collected 10 points along with 14 rebounds to post her third consecutive double-double and fourth overall this season. Ashley Paul tallied 14 points while Lindsey Shiomi distributed a career-high 13 assists.

The Leopards dominated the opening 20 minutes and rode the hot hand of Raya, who torched the Monarchs for 16 first half points to help stake the Leopards to a 39-13 halftime advantage.

La Verne grabbed an early lead of 14-5 in the first four minutes and never looked back. ULV would extend its advantage to 27-9 at the 9:34 mark behind the hot shooting of Raya and Ashley Paul, who totaled 11 points in the opening frame. Moreover, La Verne enjoyed a decisive 25-12 edge on the boards and limited the Monarchs to a shooting percentage of 21.4% in the opening stanza.

After Kings scored the first 6 points of the second half to get within 20 points, the Leopards responded with 10-0 run to build a 49-19 advantage. A Charleen Guerrero jumper with 2:29 remaining gave La Verne its biggest lead of the game (35) at 82-47.

With the win, La Verne joined seventh-ranked Messiah College (PA) as the only teams to go undefeated during the six-team, two-day holiday tournament. It opened the tournament the previous day with a 60-56 win over Carnegie-Mellon, led by Jones and Raya.

ULV returns to action on Dec. 29th to host Transylvania University as part of a Leopard mens and womens doubleheader. Tip-off is 3 p.m.

Women’s basketball standings – Dec. 26

1. UC San Diego 2-0 1.000 9-1 .900 W1 3-0 0-0 6-1
Cal State San Bernardino 2-0 1.000 7-1 .875 W1 3-0 2-0 2-1
Sonoma State 2-0 1.000 6-1 .857 W2 1-0 2-1 3-0
4. Chico State 1-1 .500 7-2 .778 W1 2-0 3-2 2-0
Cal State Dominguez Hills 1-1 .500 6-2 .750 W2 1-1 3-0 2-1
San Francisco State 1-1 .500 4-4 .500 W1 0-0 4-3 0-1
Cal State L.A. 1-1 .500 3-4 .429 W2 2-2 1-2 0-0
CSU Monterey Bay 1-1 .500 2-6 .250 L2 1-0 1-4 0-2
9. Humboldt State 0-2 .000 4-5 .444 L1 2-1 1-3 1-1
Cal Poly Pomona 0-2 .000 2-4 .333 W1 0-3 1-1 1-0
Cal State Stanislaus 0-2 .000 2-6 .250 L1 1-3 0-3 1-0