Wed., Feb. 22, No. 14 Antelope Valley College Marauder men's basketball (19-10, 6-4 and third in the Western State East) vs. No. 19 Santa Monica Corsairs (13-13, 5-2 and second in the Western State South), first round State Playoffs, Newton Chelette Court, Lancaster, 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 25, Winner of Feb. 22 at No. 3 Saddleback Vaqueros (24-4, 10-2 and second in the Orange Empire), Mission Viejo, TBA.
These two have not met this season. AVC won the last game between the two in Marauder Gym. Overall the series is led 13-11 by the Corsairs, with AVC boasting a 7-5 record against the Corsairs at home.
These two have met in playoffs twice before. In 1996 at Santa Monica, Michael Hamelin hit a 60-foot shot as time expired, or so the audio indicated. The officials, however, ruled he let the ball go after the buzzer. The Marauders lost in overtime 85-81. In 2003, the No. 19 Corsairs came into Marauder Gym and against spoiled No. 3 AVC's chance to go to the quarterfinals, upsetting the Marauders 80-77.
The 2016-17 team, have played the tough teams tough and the weaker teams weakly and pretty much everything in between. Tied for the lead in the Western State East at the turn high on an eight game win streak that included a MiraCosta Tournament title, AVC then went 3-4 to drop all the way to third.
One of those losses was to LA Valley, which they had beat the first time around by 40, and one of those wins was by two to the basement dwelling Victor Valley at home.
The 116-74 final regular season win over Glendale may well signal the Marauders have finally figured it out, and are preparing to make a playoff run worthy of early in the season when they were ranked as one of the top teams in the state.
The spark for the Marauders usually comes in the form of a Charles Hall pass to just about anyone. Watch for that second person to take over the offense whether it's Cory Dollarhide from three, Antone Warren controlling underneath, Jailen Gill using his athleticism both for scoring and rebounding or xxx Jones hitting from three and finishing the fast break.
The winner of this game will face the No. 3 Saddleback in Mission Viejo on Sat., Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.
The Marauders have not really seen much of this bracket, with the exception of Saddleback, who held on after a furious Marauder rally in the second to win by two in the first home game of the season for the AVC and Western State east champions No. 6 Citrus, which AVC would have to meet if the Owls win their second round game against Cerritos and the Marauder figure a way past both Santa Monica and Saddleback. Citrus beat AVC in both games they played this season.
Get the full bracket here.
The Marauders have now made playoffs for 27 of the last 28 seasons, and the last 10 straight. AVC is on a one game winning streak, and a one game winning streak to the Corsair. They are on a one game losing streak in the playoffs and a two game winning streak at home in the playoffs.
Marauder Men's Basketball, which finished third in the Western State East, place two players on the All-Conference team. Those named included Jailen Gill, who led the Marauders in scoring and was second in rebounding - though tops during the conference season and Antone Warren who led the Marauders in rebounding and was third in scoring. Warren has a 63.0 field goal shooting percentage, which is currently fourth in the state, and was tops in conference. Gill sports a 61.7 percentage, which was second in confernce.
Cory Dollarhide, who leads the Marauders in three pointers and is the current AVC career leader in free throw percentage was named Honorable Mention.
John Taylor is in his seventh season as the Marauder head coach, and is in his seventh 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 159-55 (.743) as the Marauders' men's coach In the last regular season game in 2016-17, Taylor won his 400th 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.