Green records double-double in PC win
They needed a bit of a comeback to do it, but in the end, Porterville College men’s basketball team provided a lively home crowd with a thrilling 87-85 win over De Anza in the Pirates season home-opener Tuesday evening.
“That right there was a tough win, I thought that was all grit,” PC head coach Rob Haynes said. “Especially when you’re playing against a team as hot as De Anza. They’re leading the state in scoring. And they was making 16 (3-pointers) a game, and they were shooting about 32. Tonight they only got off 22 and only made nine. So we did a good job of matching up.”
There were seven lead changes and six ties in the first half alone with De Anza (2-1) going on a 15-5 run and taking an 11-point lead to go into the break with the Dons up 41-39. The second half was just as close but instead it was Porterville (1-1) who finished on top with a lot of help from sophomore forward Da’Morea Green. In his first home game since a compound foot fracture back in 2017, Green finished with a double-double — 16 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
Essential to the team in the second half where he picked up most of his points, Green scored off an assist from sophomore guard Elijah Cardenas to give Porterville a 75-74 lead with barely four minutes to play. He then turned around and blocked a De Anza player’s shot that led to a fast-break layup from freshman point guard Dominic King. Green also knocked down two clutch free throws and grabbed the final rebound of the game after the Dons attempted to score by throwing a final free throw off the backboard with less than a second left in the game.
“I thought Da’Morea played a big second half,” Haynes said. “I thought in the first half he was kind of forcing it a little bit. It was the first game since his injury so a lot of people haven’t got a chance to see him play in two years ... (but) for him in the second half he wanted the ball. He kept calling for the ball.”
It was a complete team effort for the Pirates with all 10 players scoring and providing life whenever the team needed to get back into the game.
Former Porterville High star, freshman guard Treager Wallace notched two 3-pointers and a team-high three blocks. He also finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.
“That’s Treager for you, he’s going to give you everything,” Haynes said. “He’s got that high motor that you can’t teach. You can’t teach that. He has that gift.”
Cardenas, who also had two 3-pointers for go-ahead points, totaled 15 points and was 3-for-4 from the free throw line. Off the bench, sophomore guard Darion Wilson was explosive, finishing with 18 points and five rebounds. He scored 16 of those points in the first half.
“(Dominic King) gave us a big energy boost in the second half,” Haynes said. “He played the Dom-way, got to the rim, finished around the hoop and all of that stuff. I thought it was a collective thing. Ryan (Knutson) came in and gave us a little spark earlier. Got two points. Tayshawun (Bradford) held it down while Dom had his three fouls. Kent (Lei) started, did well as well. Andres (Solis) played real solid on offensive drives.”
Porterville needed the big second half after struggling in the first. They weren’t shooting well and had some turnovers from rushing the game but they also had problems stopping the Dons in transition and, in particular big man Ajay Singh, who finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Along with Singh, all five of De Anza starters finished in the double digits.
“It’s going to be peaks and valleys with this team because they’re young,” Haynes said. “They’re young. In the beginning of the game we showed our youth when they jumped on us. I thought we was a little bit too hyped for the game. Then we had to calm down a little bit. And we were still that way throughout.”
One thing that helped keep the Pirates in the game was their “Sea of Red” home crowd and the Pioneer Middle School band, who provided timeout and halftime entertainment. When it came to De Anza free throws the crowd played a part in disrupting the Dons’ concentration while going wild for their Pirates defensive and offensive efforts.
“It’s always a pleasure to play at home because I think we’ve got the best crowd — in the state,” Haynes said. “You’re not going to get crowds like this no where. I don’t care where you at. A small town or a bigger city. It’s not going to happen. We’re very passionate about it. And they showed their love. They love blue collar — hard work, grit. And that’s what we try to make sure our team’s are labeled as, mirror the town.
“It was closer than I wanted it to be,” Haynes added. “Probably (grew) a little bit more grey hairs but I think it was entertaining for the people here. And the next time we have a home game they’ll come back out and support us even more.”
Porterville’s next game is at Bakersfield College, where they’ll face the Renegades in the Renegade Classic at 4 p.m. on Friday. The Pirates return home on Nov. 30 where they are hosting the Milt Stowe Tournament.