The Advocate

Team plays superb defense, loses third place game in OT

When offense fails to match defensive intensity, Comets settle for fourth place finish

Contra+Costa+player+drives+to+the+hoop+during+the+Comet+Classic+tournament+at+the+Gymnasium+Saturday.+%0A
Contra Costa player drives to the hoop during the Comet Classic tournament at the Gymnasium Saturday.

Contra Costa player drives to the hoop during the Comet Classic tournament at the Gymnasium Saturday.

Denis Perez / The Advocate

Denis Perez / The Advocate

Contra Costa player drives to the hoop during the Comet Classic tournament at the Gymnasium Saturday.

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

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This past weekend, the women’s basketball team hosted its 24th annual Comet Classic basketball tournament,which featured eight teams from up and down California for a three-day competition that was eventually won by College of the Siskiyous (7-1 overall) on Saturday.

Although the Eagles won the tournament, the most exciting game of the event was the battle for third place between Contra Costa College (2-5 overall) and Los Angeles Harbor College (4-5 overall).

In that game, the Comets trailed for the majority of the contest, but surged to take the lead in the fourth quarter using suffocating defense. However, offensively CCC never found a consistent rhythm.

The Comets eventually lost to the Seahawks 76-69 in overtime to take fourth place in the tournament.

“We really emphasize defense in practice,” Comet coach Vince Shaw said. “That’s what is going to carry us to win games. So for them to have that intensity is just a carryover from practice. The lack of intensity on offense — that’s on me. Right now I’m proud of the effort and the teamwork and I love the direction that we are going.”

CCC’s next test is next weekend at another tournament, this time at the College of San Mateo.

In the Comets’ first game of the tourney, the team faced a new foe with a familiar face among its coaching ranks.

In a shock to many Comet fans in attendance, former women’s basketball coach Paul DeBolt made his return to coaching after stepping down as Comet coach in 2016, now serving as an assistant for Folsom Lake College (3-4 overall).

Comet Athletic Director John Wade, likened DeBolt’s return to the bench to a player that no longer plays competitive basketball.

Wade said when there is an itch, it needs to be scratched. It’s like a player that is no longer on a team who scours the city for a competitive pick-up game — it’s hard to get out of your system.

The Comets beat the Falcons 71-62 in the first-round matchup, led by 20 points from freshman guard Kianie Williams and 15 points by sophomore forward Jahna Maramba.

“When we can listen to our coach and execute as a team, good things will happen for us,” Maramba said. “If we are all on the same page — we’ll get things done. There are things that we need to fix, but it’s just December. It’s early.”

After its first-round victory, the team’s second-round match against Feather River College (7-3 overall) offered new challenges for CCC.

The Golden Eagle height and length was a matchup nightmare for the Comets. And with Maramba missing the game because she had to work, Feather River’s inside presence was too much for CCC to handle, especially as Comet shooters were cold from the outside.

CCC fell behind 19-2 early in the contest. However, after only allowing 10 points in the second quarter, CCC only trailed 31-25 at halftime.

Feather River continued its crisp passing and dead-eye shooting after the break and eventually out-paced the Comets in the second half for a 76-57 victory.

“We have to trust each other on offense. Everybody is a little nervous to shoot but we have to have confidence in everything that we do,” sophomore guard Dierra Mize said. “I’m not worried about it. We came a long way from where we started, so we are only going to get better every game.”

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Team plays superb defense, loses third place game in OT