Team sweeps Mariners, seals conference title

Basketball squad extends winning streak to nine games at Marin

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team (20-6 overall and 9-1 in the Bay Valley Conference) crept one step closer to capturing the conference crown by completing a season sweep of the College of Marin with an 86-81 win on Feb. 3 in Kentfield.

With only six players available for action, the undermanned Mariners (12-11 and 6-4 in the BVC) were ripe for the taking, yet the prospect of falling out of championship consideration was more than enough motivation to fuel an attempt at an upset victory.

“Our hats are off to Marin for coming out hot so early,” Comet coach Miguel Johnson said. “We weren’t prepared mentally for the challenge that Marin wanted to knock us off.”

During the game, the Mariners shot 57 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the 3-point arc.

After being up 14 points early, Johnson pulled starters Larry Wickett (15.5 ppg) and Bobby Syvanthong (eight ppg). The resulting disjointed play saw that lead evaporate from 14 to 6 and eventually to a two-point Mariner lead.

“It was an ugly performance,” Wickett said. “We are still on a winning streak, still learning from mistakes. It’s a matter of being fully focused for 40 minutes.”

CCC lost its intensity from the second it saw what remained of the Mariners.

Players who posed the biggest challenges in the previous match would no longer be a factor, causing the Comets to let down their guard.

Marin’s three-headed guard attack kept the Mariners afloat by spearheading the offensive attack to tally 70 of the 81 total points that the Mariners scored in the game.

“We are a good team. We just struggle with some things defensively,” Comet forward Tyrell Chenevert said. “They are not major things. They are things that we can adjust. It’s just a mental thing.”

After being up by double digits and then down by two, the Comets escaped the first half with a four-point lead of 39-35.

The Comets get a chance to atone for their poor performance in the final BVC match-up of the season — a home contest against Merritt College tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the Gymnasium.

The Mariners put up a valiant fight, but six players and three primary scorers were not enough to stop CCC.

Last Wednesday’s win at Marin gives CCC a 2.5 game lead over its closest competitor in the BVC standings. With the Comets’ season sweep of Marin and Merritt College’s 10-point loss to Marin on Jan. 7, they have all but captured a playoff spot.

The Comets host the BVC conference tournament beginning Feb. 16 but those games do not count toward conference standings or in deciding the conference champion.

Having top five percentages in three major statistical categories in the BVC, third in steals, fifth in assists and fourth in rebound margin and four players averaging double figures, the Comets have all of the ingredients that make up a successful team.

The challenge for the Comets and coach Johnson is to find the right mixture of talent to ensure the squad remain composed on both ends of the court while harnessing the turbulent energy of its scorers.

The ability to capture and focus this energy will be the determining factor as to how successful the Comets will be on their playoff run.