By Travis West | Sports Editor
The 2013 Riverside City College men’s basketball team had their chance of repeating the Cinderella story of the 2009 Tigers taken away as they hosted the San Bernardino Valley College Wolverines and came up short 66-56 on Mar. 1 in the Wheelock Gym.
A playoff buzz filled the air as both stands were filled with the SBVC fans showing up to counter act the menacing RCC Marching Band.
Conference leader in assists, Mason Biddle was coming off an ankle injury that sidelined him for one game and was listed as a game time decision, but decided that he would stick it out.
In the first half, players were seen diving after loose balls. The Tigers turned the ball over 18 times while the Wolverines were not better as they finished with 20.
The usually strong shooting Tigers were not able to find their stroke and it proved to be costly. The Tigers were out shot by the Wolverines in every category.
Luis Solis / Photo Editor
The Tigers shot an unusual 1 for 15 from three with their shooters unable to get going.
It was a tough night, but the Tigers switched to a full court defense late in the first half after falling behind nearly 10 points and caused the Wolverines to turn the ball over seven times in the first half.
The Tigers were able to gain on the Wolverines and by halftime the Tigers were down 28-21.
The second half provided some promise with the Tigers pulling within two points of the lead at a certain point; unfortunately, the Tigers were hit by a bad shooting night.
As the Wolverines hit their free throws down the stretch, the Tigers watched their chance at glory slip away.
For sophomore players like Biddle it will be tough walking away. “I don’t know if there will be much I will forget… I love everyone on the team, including the coaching staff.”
Ireland holds the program in high regard, “This is probably one of the best (basketball) programs in California… you are a student athlete here.”
For head coach John Smith, “It was kind of hard in (the locker room) when your season ends with the sophomores. You develop a bond with those guys, but they have a good future.”
Smith went on to say that Shannon Fowler, Anthony Rounds and Thomas Folsom will be returning, “It looks promising and I’m excited about what the future holds.”