The Pierce College men’s basketball team crowned themselves co-champions of the Western State North Division on Saturday, Feb. 21, defeating Santa Barbara Community College for the second time.
In both games against Santa Barbara the Brahmas scored double or more than the Vaqueros, winning 85-40 to share the crown.
The win leaves the Brahmas with a conference record of 9-3, tying for first place with Cuesta College.
“We are very excited to make history,” said sophomore forward Jordan Fuller.
The Brahmas celebrated “Sophomore Night,” where the team honored its sophomore guards Fuller, J.R. Williams, Tatsu Suenga and center Trey Archambeau. Before tip off, the sophomores were given a bouquet of roses at center court and had their pictures taken to honor their time on the team.
In the first half of the game the Brahmas came out strong defensively, forcing the Vaqueros to constantly turn the ball over. Both teams struggled to find their shot and missed several easy opportunities.
The Brahmas left several points on the table, failing to capitalize on wide-open shots that could have made the margin of defeat wider.
Fuller led the way in the first half for the Brahmas, finishing up the half with 11 points and one three-pointer.
Going into halftime, Pierce led 31-17, but Pierce College’s Athletic Director Bob Lofrano was critical of the team’s first half performance.
“We played a lackluster first half,” Lofrano said. “We have to play better in the second half. [SBCC] committed a lot of mistakes we did not force. We have to play better and not take anything for granted. When you have 20 minutes to win a championship, you got to lay it all on the line.”
In the second half, the Brahmas forced the Vaqueros into careless mistakes.
Santa Barbara could not catch up to Pierce and the constant pressure led to more turnovers.
Freshman guard Lorenzo Goines put on a show from the three-point line in the second half, as he made three of them and finished with the most points, 20.
Pierce head coach Ed Babayan was happy with the team’s win, but felt they could have done better.
“We just did barely enough to win,” Babayan said. “We were focused on playoffs and our defense was the only thing we did right.”
The first round of the regionals will be on Wednesday, Feb. 25. Details to be announced later.