Three consecutive blowout losses to conference opponents dropped the Comets’ Bay Valley Conference record to 2-3 with the 2011-12 season winding down. However, the men’s basketball team’s next nine games ultimately defined their season.
After starting the season with an 11-8 overall record, the Comets ran off nine consecutive victories culminating in their second round BVC tournament win over Mendocino College.
Contra Costa College finished the final 12 games of the year with a 10-2 record, its only losses coming at the hands of state runner-up Yuba College and No. 1 ranked City College of San Francisco, to whom CCC lost 95-60 in the second round of the State Tournament.
Sophomore forward Chris McFadden-Martin said coach Miguel Johnson motivated the team to finish the season strong.
“Mostly, coach Johnson telling us we have to win these games to make the playoffs,” McFadden-Martin said explaining the team’s motivation during its nine-game winning streak. “Our mindset was on the playoffs and we gave it our best effort every game.”
The Comets finished 2011-12 with a 21-10 overall record. Twenty-one wins in a season are the most games CCC has won in Johnson’s six-year tenure. The team’s playoff berth was the first since the men’s basketball team’s 2006 first round defeat at the hands of Fresno City College.
The Comets mean a lot to Johnson, a second-generation CCC men’s basketball player.
Suffering through the 2010-11 season, when the team finished 2-20 overall, was the worst season Johnson said he has ever experienced as a coach. To follow that year with his best as a CCC coach is a testament to the standard to which he holds his players.
“I’m on them to be great in whatever they do,” Johnson said. “We’re not always the most talented team on the floor, but we are the most hard working. When we get talented guys on the floor, we can beat anyone in the state.”
“I can’t take all of the credit,” Johnson said. “A lot of the achievements we made this season are due to the players. I’ll always remember this year and these guys.”
CCC’s success is due to the squad’s smothering perimeter defense. The men’s basketball team allowed just 60.3 points per game, tops in the BVC. However, the Comets offense was not nearly as effective, only scoring 62.45 points per game, fifth in the conference — a difference of just 2.16 points.
“I think we did (OK),” sophomore Joseph Scott said. “We should’ve done a lot better. Some games we didn’t close out, but we played hard all season and we never rolled over.”
A lack of team chemistry was a major reason for the men’s basketball team’s 2010-11 struggles. This season, however, team chemistry has been a strong point for CCC, which had 13 players on this season’s roster who did not play last year.