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Vikings fall to Olympians
BARSTOW • The Vikings proved they can score points. Now they have to keep their opponents from doing the same.
The Barstow Community College men’s basketball team played its first home game of the new year on Saturday. The Vikings hosted San Diego Mesa and in an offense-filled contest fell to the Olympians, 115-101.
Mesa is doing well this year, currently sitting atop the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference with a 9-5 record. The Olympians also have the league’s top scorer on their roster in Novain Cherry, who’s averaging 24.6 points per game, and is also fourth in the PCAC in rebounding.
While the Vikings have only one win this year, they’ve shown a decent offense, and have their own player putting up big numbers. Javone Rabon is second in the Foothill Conference in scoring with 23.2 points per game, and leads the league in rebounding, taking down an average of 11.8 per game.
Each player had a big game on Saturday. Rabon scored 18 points in the first half, and upped that to 26 in the second for a total of 44 points, including a 16-for-21 performance from the line. Cherry, though, was the game high-scorer with 48 points.
Despite having to go up against the PCAC powerhouse, Vikings coach Gerry Wright wasn’t thinking about that in preparing for the game.
“I don’t worry about what the other team has, I worry about what we have,” he said. “If we don’t play like we’re supposed to, anybody can look like an All-American.”
The Olympians built up a big first-half lead. Cherry scored consistently in both halves, as did Rabon, but the Olympian had the more reliable back-up around him. Darreon Tolliver was steady on offense through the first 20 minutes, netting 13 points for Mesa, while J.J. Coleman had nine. The next highest-scoring Viking in the first half after Rabon was Daniel Gampe, who sank a pair of three-pointers.
“We were missing lay-ups; some things you can’t coach,” said Wright. “At some point players just have to step up and make the plays.”
The Vikings did go on to outscore their opponent by a 63-53 margin in the second half. They got the deficit down to 11 points with just under two minutes left, but got no closer.
Gampe finished in double digits with 17 points, including five outside buckets, while Nate Lopez had 11 points off the bench.
Wright was brought in as the BCC coach too late to recruit for this season, but is already starting to do so for next year. He’s looking at a few players, while also evaluating the freshmen on this year’s Vikings squad to determine if they’ll fit in.
“The recruits can’t play till next year, so these guys have an opportunity to step up now and prove themselves. Right now I’m looking to see who will be around next year,” Wright said. “It’s college basketball, this isn’t the YMCA. You have to earn it.”
The Vikings play at home again this Saturday, taking on Rio Hondo in a doubleheader. The women’s game starts at 1 p.m., with the men tipping off at 3.