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Squad unable to capitalize on turnovers

lmorotti.theadvocate@gmail.com

Published: Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 15:12

WB

George Morin / The Advocate

Comet guard Raven Caldwell attempts a shot against Laney forward Emani Gardener during the first half of their game against the Eagles during the Comet Classic in the Gymnasium on Friday.

A rushed offensive effort and lackluster defensive coverage during their last two games earned the Comets fourth place in the Comet Classic Tournament (1-2) last Thursday, Friday in the Gym.

Contra Costa College (5-4 overall) won its first game against the reigning Coast Conference-South Division champions Ohlone College (6-3 overall) 75-72 by making roughly 75 percent of its free throws and shooting well from the field.

“What kept us in the game were those free throws,” freshman guard Ahjahna Coleman said. “If we would have been anything under 50 percent, we would have lost.”

The Comet defense forced turnovers that resulted in quick breaks down the court but was usually contained just outside the 3-point line by an evenly matched Renegade defense.

Tactical off the ball runs into open space by CCC players drew Ohlone players out of position, opening up passing options for their quick and accurate passing game that burst into drives past defenders crowding the key for the layup.

However, CCC was unable to string together a winning streak. It lost both subsequent games against Laney College (3-5 overall) 79-70 and to College of the Siskiyous (6-2 overall) 86-63.

The Comets lost to the Eagles and Screaming Eagles because of their unwillingness to look up for the open player to pass to, along with wasting simple scoring opportunities like lay-ups and free throws.

Movement on the court was not terrible but players were not in sync with each other. CCC didn’t have trouble dribbling the ball down the court off breaks caused by steals or blocks. Plays constantly dissolved once they passed the 3-point line.

Defensively, Laney closed down space well. Players applied just enough pressure cut off passing options for CCC players. The Eagles also took advantage of Comet players’ frustration, drives into the key resulted in many fouls.

Guards Joie Wyatt and Ahjahna Coleman were both sent off because they accumulated too many personal fouls. Laney guard Lana De los Reyes made 11 of her 13 attempted free throws.

Rushed passes, shots and drives by the offense forced the guards to waste energy winning rebounds that were also missed.

Coach Paul DeBolt uttered one word that can sum up CCC’s style of play during the two last games. “Ugly,” he said. “We missed too many free throws. We just didn’t play well.”

The Comets made only 19-40 free throw attempts against Laney and missed more than 20 3-point attempts in the game.

Entering the game against the Screaming Eagles, the Comets assistant coach Keith Allison said that if the Comets can force turnovers and apply enough offensive pressure along with scoring when opportunities arise, they could handle the College of Siskiyous offense.

Siskiyous went on to beat the Comets by a margin of 23 points.

“The offense was bad. We couldn’t control the ball. We need to play better and just listen to coach,” Coleman said.

The Comets missed more than 25 field goal attempts from the bottom post and center court. Sophomore guard Jewel Rogers missed the most netting none of her 11 attempts.

“Not a smart decision,” Rogers commented on her wasted shots.

Rogers said that the teams’ mentality entering the game was not a healthy one. The loss against Laney College resonated within the team and showed in the way the Comets played, she said.

“We have got to be team. If we don’t become better (as a team) we are not going anywhere (in the post-season),” Rogers said.

“Late passing and not tracking the movement of the ball are a few things we have to work on,” Allison said. “For us this is a mild setback,” he said. “But like I tell the players, a setback gives them a chance to set up for a comeback.”

Diablo Valley College (6-0 overall) beat Laney College 104-79 on Saturday bringing the Comet Classic Championship trophy to the Big Eight Conference.

CCC is scheduled to play Hartnell College (0-7 overall) in the opening game of the College of San Mateo Tournament at 1 p.m Dec. 19. That tournament also features Bay Valley Conference rival Merritt College. 

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