Panthers lose composure, suffer stunning loss

This is the time of year when teams want to be peaking. The playoffs are a couple of weeks away and even if you’re not going to win a conference title, you want to have all your players on the same page and focused.

The Chaffey College men’s basketball team let one get away Friday night when it suffered a stunning 100-95 overtime loss to Rio Hondo, which came into the game in sixth in the Foothill Conference and an 8-15 overall record.

Before the game Chaffey coach Jeff Klein warned that Rio was not a pushover, a handful of quality players and they had beaten a formidable Antelope Valley team. He was right.  The Roadrunners played like a tean with nothing to lose and were with the Panthers all the way. 

The surprising part was not that Chaffey lost, it was the manner in which it lost composure in the overtime. One player in particular  who wasn’t even in the game.

It had been 84-all at the end of regulation and Rio was up 86-84 when Chaffey big man Mo Hughley, who had fouled out in the closing second of regulation, was called for a technical foul. It seems he was at the end of the bench pouting a little too loudly.

Rio’s Maurice Cole proceeded to make the two free throws for a four-point lead.

That lead would swell to 96-86. And in that stretch Hughley was confronted by the referee again, and this time asked to leave the bench.

Klein said he didn’t think Hughley said anything that offensive but that the referee’s problem goes back to issues the past few games. Maybe he was paying more attention to the big man than he needed to,m given the situation.

If that is the case, than Hugley should have shut up after the first technical foul. Did he really need the embarrassment of being asked to leave the bench?

It will be interesting to see if Klein chooses to play Hughley in the next game,.Sometimes a lesson needs to be learned. What if that were to happen in a playoff game?

Maybe it was just a pair of free throws and the Panthers did end up down by 10. But the incident seemed to rattle the players on the court as well.

The Panthers have a very good team and are more than capable of making a strong playoff run. We’ll see how this one plays out.

The Panthers will be at Antelope Valley on Wednesday and close out the season with a home game next Friday against Mt. San  Jacinto. Those are both quality opponents. If the Panthers win them they will finish second in the Foothill to SBVC – a noteworthy accomplishment.