East County Sports

Olympians finally join one-win club


By Nick Pellegrino
East County Sports staff writer

TORRANCE (12-21-2018) – Less than 48 hours after Grossmont College captured its first victory of the season, San Diego Mesa College finally stepped forward to register its initial triumph while participating at the Paul Landreaux Classic at El Camino College.

After suffering their largest margin of defeat of the season in Thursday’s (Dec. 19) first-round – a 97-48 wipe-out from Santiago Canyon College – the Olympians bounced back to take a surprisingly easy 84-65 decision over Bakersfield in Friday’s (Dec. 20) tournament action.

The Renegades actually held a 43-42 halftime lead, but the team collapsed in the second half, as Mesa erupted for to shoot 63 percent from the floor in the second half, holding a 42-22 scoring advantage to win going away.
Mesa forward Cameron Hill tallied 13 of his team-high 22 points in the second half, while guard Aren Thomas collected 10 of his 16 points after the break.

Meanwhile, Bakersfield converted just six shots in the second half, shooting a dismal 20 percent from the floor.

For the Renegades (8-6), guard Aren Thomas led the club with 16 points, while guard Anieus Medrano added 14, but the pair combines to shoot just 9-of-28 shots.

Mesa (1-11) also held a 42-25 rebounding advantage due to the rash of Bakersfield misses, led by Hill’s14 boards, setting a season-best for the second consecutive contest. Hill grabbed 12 against Santiago Canyon.
Hill also shot 10-for-12 from the floor, gaining a berth on the all-tournament team.

With the triumph, Mesa moved into a deadlock with Cuyamaca (1-12) and Grossmont (1-13) in the battle for fourth place in the PCAC South Division.

On a historical note, when Mesa opened its doors in 1964, the Olympians first coach was Jay Mulvehal, who guided the program for 33 seasons. Prior to that, Mulvehal coached 10 seasons at Bakersfield High School (1954-64).

A pair of PCAC South schools – Cuyamaca and Imperial Valley – will be hosting tournaments next week, both starting on Dec. 28.

Cuyamaca is an 8-team, 3-day event, as the Coyotes will meet Victor Valley in a first-round game at 5 p.m. Other pairings: Miramar vs. Antelope Valley, 1 p.m.; Cypress vs. San Diego Mesa, 3 p.m.; and East Los Angeles vs. Santa Ana, 7 p.m.

This is the 2nd annual event for Cuyamaca, which took over the dates after Mesa dropped its annual invitational after 51 seasons.

Imperial Valley is a 4-team, 2-day, crossover affair, as the Arabs open against L.A. Harbor at 5 p.m., with Pasadena meeting College of the Desert at 3 p.m. The PCAC schools will swap opponents for Day 2.

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