Men’s basketball season review

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Brandon White (#22) tossing the ball to the net. Los Angeles Pierce College on the Basketball Court, Woodland Hills, Calif. Feb. 18, 2017 Photo: Jose Salazar

The 2016-17 Brahmas men’s basketball season was an up-and-down ride like a mechanical bull.

There seemed to be a revolving door in the starting five. Head coach Charles White estimates he used at least 18 different starting lineups.

“I was trying to find the combination,” Charles White said. “Find the guys that would play defense for us. That didn’t work out too well. But still, I think I got some things out of guys toward the later part of the year. It was tough trying to find that combination with all new kids, one returner.”

With only one returning player from last season, the youth and inexperience playing together showed on the court.

“As a coach, I’ve got to find that consistency in these guys,” Charles White said. “We need to be more consistent on the defensive end. We need to be able to come out and compete. We competed all year, don’t get me wrong, but we just need to get those stops defensively.”

The Brahmas did compete all year, and had plenty of bright spots despite their 11-17 record. In fact, the team just narrowly missed the playoffs.

“We were one game away from really being considered for the playoffs, two games away from being in the playoffs,” Charles White said. “We beat West LA that Wednesday, then Santa Monica, we take their spot in the playoffs. We would have played Antelope Valley, who we played well earlier.”

The biggest victory of the season came in the second round of the West LA tournament when the Brahmas upset El Camino College Compton Center, who finished the season ranked fifth in the state and second in Southern California.

Unfortunately, the early upset didn’t translate to success for the rest of the season. Sophomore guard Kelton Conway believes the victory should have shown them their abilities against other teams.

Freshman guard Jordan Newt was named to the all-tournament team at West LA. Newt began the season coming off the bench, but started in the tournament and played his way into staying in the starting lineup.

“Every day I just come to do my best,” Newt said. “I can’t control the lineup. I just come to be my best and hope it works out.”

Newt’s best was enough in the eyes of coaches throughout the conference. Newt was named All-Conference along with sophomore forward Brandon White. Newt said he was humbled by the honor and appreciative of the coaches that voted for him.

Joining Newt and Brandon White on the All-Conference team as an honorable mention is Conway.

Conway knows exactly what he’s taking away from this season.

“You need a team to win games,” Conway said.You can’t have the one-on-ones. Can’t have one guy out there trying to be the hero. We had games like that, but toward the end everybody realized it takes a team.”

Conway is also set to head up to the Sophomore Showcase March 10 at Chabot College along with Brandon White and forward Anthony Suber.

“I’m excited. It’s something I never thought I was going to do,” Conway said. “But now that I’m thinking about it, I’m actually looking forward to it. I’m just going to go out there and have a good time.”