Bradford to the hoop

Porterville College's Tayshawun Bradford takes it to the hoop Saturday, Jan. 12, during the second half of a game against College of the Sequoias at Porterville College.

Pirates drop CVC home opener 94-66

The Porterville College and College of Sequoias men’s basketball games are usually one of the most anticipated and best games of the Pirates season. 

Win or lose, it’s usually a game where Porterville goes all out against their rival, especially when the game is at Pirates Gymnasium.

But playing at home Saturday evening, none of that passion from previous games was there for the Pirates. In their Central Valley Conference home-opener, PC (7-7, 2-1 CVC) fell 94-66 to the visiting Giants (9-7, 2-2 CVC) for their worst loss of the season.

“It was embarrassing,” PC head coach Rob Haynes said. “For me, I’ve got to do a better job as a coach to get these guys ready at home. For whatever reason, with this group this year, we’re not playing well at home.” 

The Pirates, who were 6-1 at home two seasons ago, now have a home record of 3-4, with the loss to the Giants showing cracks in the Pirates’ team on both sides of the floor. 

Porterville’s offensive struggles began almost right from the start, with the team falling behind 18-8 midway through the first half before cutting COS’ lead back down to two points. But right after that, the Giants turned around and went on a 10-0 run, then extended their lead out to 19 points late in the half. The Pirates kept fighting and managed to finish the first half down just 44-32.

However, a sloppy first possession to start the second half continued PC’s offensive woes. 

“We turned the ball over that very first play after they turned the ball over, and I thought that was a crucial moment because you get that bucket, it’s a 10-point lead. It’s a whole different ball game,” Haynes said.

The Pirates shot just under 40 percent from the field, and where they expected to do well — around the arc against COS’ zone defense — they went seven of 23 from the 3-point line, whereas the Giants were eight of 13 from three. 

Freshman Tayshawun Bradford led PC with 15 points off the bench and knocked down three 3-pointers. Sophomore Elijah Cardenas also had three treys and finished with 11 points, while sophomores Da’Morea Green and Darion Wilson had 13 points each.

Haynes also pointed out the team had 23 turnovers and 25 personal fouls, a stark contrast from an average of 15 turnovers and 12 fouls from their last three games. Bradford was one of the only Pirates without a turnover against the Giants.

“We went back to not trusting one another,” Haynes said. “Not catching the ball, not being confident — not being strong with it. I thought that at times we played soft. I thought we played soft a lot tonight. When you’re playing against a crosstown rival, and when we beat them two times in the past three years — even though it’s a different group, however — we do have ... the solution to the team. 

“And that’s a good team over there,” Haynes continued. “I don’t take anything away from COS. That’s a real good team. Real good team, real good defense. Good size and everything. But I just didn’t think that we were confident on the offensive end. I thought we turned down shots. I thought we had opportunities in the paint and we turned down those, and we turned it down for a turnover. It was tough.“

Defensively, Porterville was out-rebounded 43-26. But against a COS team with six players 6-foot-6 or taller, Haynes said the team expected they wouldn’t win the rebounding battle. However, the plan was for post players to box out and rebound while guards attacked the basket, but that’s not what happened.

“We didn’t do that,” Haynes said. “We watched. We did a lot of watching. And sometimes when you’re playing against other teams that’s probably the same size as you or probably a little smaller, you get away with that stuff. But when you’re playing against good programs like that, there’s no rooms for mistakes.” 

In Northern California rankings, COS sits at No. 12, while fellow CVC programs Fresno City (13-3, 4-0 CVC) and Columbia (12-3, 3-0 CVC) are No. 2 and No. 5, respectively, making the CVC once again one of the state’s toughest conferences.

Porterville travels to West Hills Coalinga (6-9, 1-2 CVC) on Monday, where they’ll hope to quickly turn things around. But the Pirates have a packed upcoming week, with the team hosting Cerro Coso (7-8, 1-3 CVC) Wednesday before taking on FCC, Saturday, Jan. 19, in Fresno for another big test.

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