Wed., Feb. 21, No. 18 Antelope Valley College Marauder men's basketball (16-14, 6-4 and second in the Western State East) at No. 15 Cuesta College Cougars (16-15, 6-4 and third in the Western State North), first round State Playoffs, Paso Robles, 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 24, Winner of Feb. 21 at No. 2 San Bernardino Valley Wolverines (26-4, 10-0 and champions of the Pacific Coast North), San Bernardino, TBA.
These two have not met this season. In fact, despite both being in the south, these two teams have not met since 1979-80. The current series record strands at 7-2 in favor of the Cougars. Cuesta has won the last three games and the last three games played in Paso Robles.
NUMBER 18 SEED
The No. 18 seed is the lowest for a Marauder team since 2001 (excepting 2006, when they didn't make the playoffs) when AVC was seeded 21st and is the third lowest seed in history.
The 2017-18 team doesn't seem to quite know who they are or what they are supposed to do. This is a team that crushed a Ventura team the should have beaten the undefeated (at the time) San Bernardino after a lack-luster loss to DeAnza. It's a team that fought No. 3 Citrus to a three point loss. It's also a team that has lead at halftime by as many as 16 points to some very good teams, only to lose. A team that has given up double digit leads with less than 10 minutes to go to lose.
But coach John Taylor, like last season, only wanted a chance at the playoffs because he feels this team might be very much like last year's team that went from the 14th spot to the semifinals.
If they do, it will probably be in large part because of first team All-Conference performers D'Mauria Jones and Osi Nwachukwu. Jones is averaging nearly 20 points a game this season, while Nwachukwu leads in rebounds and can easily get the offense started.
The winner of this game will face No. 3 San Bernardino Valley on Sat., Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.
The Marauders have not met anyone in their bracket this season.
Get the full bracket here.
The Marauders have now made playoffs for 28 of the last 29 seasons, and the last 11 straight. AVC is on a two game losing streak, and a three game losing streak to the Cougars. They are on a one game losing streak in the playoffs and a two game winning streak on the road in the playoffs.
Two Marauders were named First team All-Western State East it was announced.
D'Mauria Jones lead the Marauders in scoring at 19.6 points a game, placing second in conference and 20th in the state. Shooting nearly 51 percent from the field for his career at AVC he has 69 threes and 134 assists and scored up 39 against El Camino His 954 points is 13th in career scoring for the Marauders. Osi Nwachukwu led the Marauders in rebounding and blocked shot and was second in scoring.
Gregory Floyd Jr. was named honorable mention.
John Taylor is in his eighth season as the Marauder head coach, and is in his eighth 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 563-266 (.679) record overall, and his teams now play in the playoffs for the 22nd 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 also in the semis. Tom Gilcrest of Sequoias won state championships with both the Giant's men and women. Taylor is 178-70 (.718) 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.