Photo by Bruce Jacobsen
LANCASTER - The Marauder men's basketball team had no problems in the opening round of the 65th annual Gregg Anderson Tournament with a convincing 87-61 victory over Rio Hondo College at Marauder Gymnasium on the newly named Newton Chelette Court, Friday evening.
Prior to the game Chelette, the winningest coach in school history, was honored by local community members as the court was dedicated in his name.
And the Marauders didn't disappoint against the Roadrunners.
AVC, which has won three games in a row since starting the season 1-4, jumped out to an early 10-0 lead including two monster dunks by Jailen Gill. The Marauders (4-4) extended their lead to 31-11 following a 3-pointer by Christian Solis.
Rio Hondo, which had its four-game winning streak snapped, used a 16-5 run later in the first half to trim the lead to 36-27. The Roadrunners cut into the lead even more at 39-30 with 2:35 remaining before intermission.
"We needed to come out with energy and put on a show for the crowd. We just wanted to come out and get this 'w'," said Solis, who finished with 11 points, including three 3-pointers. "I think we're starting to come together. Our team chemistry is definitely getting better. We have so much talent on this team. I think we're going to be fine."
The Marauders will face Ventura College in the semi finals of the tournament. The other semi final game pits Fullerton College against the top ranked team in the state, San Bernardino Valley College. Earlier this season, Ventura defeated AVC, 74-67, at the Ventura Tournament.
The Marauders also lost to Riverside College in that tournament but came back to beat the Tigers at the San Bernardino College Tournament.
AVC maintained a 15-point lead for the first part of the second half but was able to extend that lead comfortably. Darik Pradia netted a 3-pointer with 5:59 giving the Marauders a 76-49 lead.
The Marauders had a balanced attack as Antone Warren finished with 17 points and nine rebounds on 8-of-8 shooting. Warren was able to easily score when the ball was dished down low as Rio Hondo had no answer for the 6'10" Warren.
Gill finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. Charles Hall had seven points, five rebounds and a season-high 11 assists. Osinachi Nwachukwu had seven points and 12 rebounds.
AVC held a 48-6 points in the paint advantage over the Roadrunners.