Wed., Mar. 2, No. 7 Antelope Valley College Marauder men's basketball (24-6, 9-5 and second in the Western State South) vs. Citrus College Owls (16-13, 8-6 and tied for third in the Western State South), third round State Playoffs, Marauder Gym, Lancaster, 7 p.m.
The Marauders move to the third round after an 87-83 win over No. 10 San Diego City. The Owls took the harder way, first beating Palomar 77-63, then dropping the No. 2 San Bernardino Valley 94-91 in overtime.
These are conference rivals, and the Marauders did something they had not done since they joined the Western State South – they beat Citrus in Glendora, meaning AVC won both contests this season. That includes a 97-89 win in Marauder Gym that marked the most points scored by the Marauders this season.
Overall the series is led 24-14 by the Marauders, with AVC boasting a 9-3 record against the Owls at home.
The only playoff contest between these two was in Glendora in 2011, when the Owls won 88-63. In that game's second half, AVC did not score a field goal in the first five minutes and by then Citrus had gone on a 18-2 run.
The 2015-16 team, like so many Marauder teams before them, seemed unbeatable just before they were beat. The Marauders were the last California undefeated team, and were poised to make a third straight blitz through the Western State South. But something went away when they were away, and AVC lost five straight on the road – all in conference play – and they had to work hard to finish tied for second in the WSS. Still, for the first time in their history the Marauders went undefeated at home in the regular season, a perfect 10-0.
Injuries have played big, or better to say small, since the injuries have been to the Marauder's big men, and the players left standing are basically guards. In fact, AVC has only had a player in double figures in rebounds three times, but five times their top rebounder was held to five or less.
Still they make up for much of their height problems with quickness, and 11-0 and better runs have not been uncommon this season.
It could be anyone leading the Marauders on any given night, but look for All-Conference players Joseph Moorer, who led the Marauders in scoring and three pointers; Chris Martin, who led AVC in steals and assists and Jalen Etienne who was third in scoring and second in steals and assists, as well as AVC's top three point shooter Cory Dollarhide as the best candidates.
The winner of this game will face the winner of No. 3 Chaffey and No. 6 Fullerton on Sat., Mar. 5 for the right to play in the State semi-finals.
The Marauders received the No. 7 seed, and interestingly because of the new seeding criteria, are seeded ahead of the Western State South champion Bakersfield, which was ninth.
Get the full bracket here.
The Marauders have now made playoffs for 26 of the last 27 seasons, and the last nine straight. AVC is on a four game winning streak, and a three game winning streak to the Owls. They are on a one game winning streak in the playoffs and at home in the playoffs.
Three Marauder Men's Basketball players were named to the All-Western State South team. Joseph Moorer, who led the Marauders in scoring and three pointers; Chris Martin, who led AVC in steals and assists and Jalen Etienne who was third in scoring and second in steals and assists were all named to the team for the second place Marauders.
John Taylor is in his sixth season as the Marauder head coach, and is in his sixth playoffs with the team. In 2013-14 he guided the men to the best record in southern California and a Western State South title. He was also named WSS Coach of the Year. Taylor was named WSC women's Coach of the Year in 1995-96, and was tabbed as the Foothill Conference women's Coach of the Year in 2002-03 and 2003-04. He has crafted a 522-239 (.685) record overall, and his teams now play in the playoffs for the 21st straight season, and his teams have won 20 games in 14 straight seasons (eight with the women). He now has the distinction of being the second coach to coach both a men's and women's team to the final four. He did it with the Marauder women in 2007, but lost in the semi-finals to Pasadena and then with the men in 2012, losing to Yuba in the semifinals. Tom Gilcrest of Sequoias won state championships with both the Giant's men and women. Taylor is 90-31 (.744) as the Marauders' men's coach In 2012-13, Taylor won his 300th game as a Marauder head coach. He began the 2010-11 season as both men's and women's coach. His women Marauder teams were 241-103 overall and included six Foothill Conference championships - four straight from 2003 to 2006 and this season. AVC finished second in the Foothill Conference in his first two seasons, before 2002-03's undefeated in conference champion team and again this season. He guided AVC to ten straight seasons of 19 wins or more and the playoffs each year. In 2006-07 he became the winningest Marauder women's basketball coach with win 143 and in 2007-08 season coached the Marauders to his 100th Foothill Conference win.