By Jesus Coronel
The last time the Tigers’ basketball team took the court, it was in the third round of the California Community College Athletic Association Southern Regional Tournament. Then the pandemic ended all athletic activity.
The team won the Orange Empire Conference tournament that year, propelling it to the regional tournament.
An exhibition game was held at Riverside City College between the Tigers and Southwest College on Oct. 9 in preparation for the upcoming 2021-2022 men’s basketball season.
The Tigers finished the game with seven assists and 13 turnovers. The team also committed seven fouls by the end of the third quarter.
However, the team also came up with 14 steals and 23 rebounds.
After the Tigers’ game had ended, head coach Philip Mathews was not satisfied with how the team performed offensively. The Tigers had possessions that didn’t play out in their favor, which caused turnovers and very little assists in the game.
The team gave up eight fouls in the third quarter.
“We were gambling,” Mathews said. “Trying to make the big play instead of playing solid defense.”
However, he is very happy that he and the team are back on the court after the pandemic shutdown.
“For me, after sitting out a year and a half, it’s a godsend,” Mathews said. “The players are repping to go.”
Guard Edwyn Collins is among the players looking forward to returning but knows he could be playing better.
“I missed a couple of wide open shots, a couple of passes and was reaching on defense,” he said. “That’s something to take note of for the next scrimmage.”
Also returning for the Tigers is Melvin Walker, who was happy to be alongside his teammates again, although he got “hurt in the first half.”
“My teammates kept me in it,” he said. “They motivated me to keep playing.”
The season will begin on Nov. 4 with the We Play Hard Tournament at Ventura College.