SBCC men let lead get away in second half

It was a tale of two halves on Saturday afternoon as SBCC won the first 20 minutes by 16, then lost the second stanza by 18 at the Sports Pavilion. Bakersfield opened the second half on a 24-4 run and went on to beat the Vaqueros 73-71 for the consolation title of the 40th annual SBCC Classic.

Rico Failla scored 15 of his career-high 22 points in the first half when the Vaqueros (3-6) took control with a 14-2 spurt, capped by an 8-foot floater by Pablo Miranda that made it 32-18 with 6:14 remaining.

SBCC shot 50 percent in the opening half and drained 6-of-9 from 3-point land. Failla was 3-4 and Logan Louks hit 3-3 as the Vaqueros built a 45-29 lead at intermission. Louks tallied 13 of his 15 points in the first half.

“We played good defense in the first half and moved the ball well,” said coach Morris Hodges. “We forced them to go to a zone and we really executed and got great shots. We had them on their heels.”

The Vaqueros hit 50 percent from the field in the first half and 34.8 percent in the second. The Renegades drained 62.1 percent in the final 20 minutes (18-29).

SBCC only made two field goals in the first 7½ minutes of the second half.

“We weren’t able to convert shots like we did in the first half, which didn’t allow us to get into our press,” said Hodges. “That took away some of our effectiveness.”

All-tournament choice Conroy Lester hit 8-11 shots and led Bakersfield (4-5) with 18 points.

The Renegades went ahead by nine (62-53) before the Vaqueros rallied. Sam Kelley made a nifty left-handed follow from under the hoop and Failla canned a trey from the right side to tie it at 69-69 with 2:21 to play.

Failla had a perfect night, making 7-7 from the field, including 4-4 on 3’s, and 4-4 from the foul line. Miranda, a freshman from Dos Pueblos High, had eight points, five rebounds and four assists. Jalani Davis added seven points and six rebounds.

Miranda scored a layup to put SBCC ahead 71-69 at the 1:27 mark. But Lester tied it with a layin after a spin move in the lane. The Vaqueros missed a 3-pointer and Damian Robinson dunked on a breakaway to make it 73-71 with 20 seconds left.

SBCC called timeout with 12.6 seconds but turned the ball over on its final possession.

“We fought back and had a chance to win it at the end,” said Hodges. “The first five minutes of the second half are so crucial and that’s when they made their surge. We couldn’t make any buckets to end that run.”

It was the second win for Bakersfield over the Vaqueros in eight days. The teams will meet for a third time on Dec. 28 in the opening round of the Hancock Holiday Tournament.

Pasadena won the third-place trophy by beating Cypress 101-74. Mike Swanegan of Pasadena and Davon Potts of Cypress were all-tournament.

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