The College of the Siskiyous men’s basketball team plays a rare pre-holiday home game tonight, Dec. 6, starting at 5 p.m. against Cabrillo.
In their previous meeting in mid-November at the Shasta College tournament in Redding, the Eagles trailed by 4 points late before losing 69-59.
That’s been a familiar pattern for a young and, so far, injury-plagued Siskiyous team that goes into the game with an 0-8 record.
The Eagles got blown out early when they turned the ball over 98 times in their first four games and gave up an average of 100 points.
Since then they’ve been more competitive.
They led Napa by 4 points with about 6 minutes to play in last weekend’s James Clark Classic at Sacramento, but didn’t score in the final 5 minutes of a 75-66 loss.
They trailed by 4 with 2 minutes to play against Cosumnes River before losing 78-68 in their first game at Sacramento.
Dwayne McClendon, a 6-foot-5 freshman forward from Hammond, IN, scored 26 points against Cosumnes River and 19 against Napa.
Another freshman, Alex Velazquez, a 5-10 guard from Williams, scored 18 against Napa and 9 against Cosumnes River.
Freshman TyVon Gaitors, a 6-3 guard from Chicago, scored 14 against Cosumnes; and 6-2 sophomore guard Jonathan Lopez from Rocklin scored 10 against Napa.
Head coach Kyle Heath said the Eagles have been dealing with injuries, including one that has kept key returning sophomore guard Deontrey Fuller off the court for about a month.
He said they’ve been turning the ball over less the last couple weeks but have been getting beat too often on the offensive boards and have been making just 50 percent of their free throw attempts.
“Every team we’ve played has been solid,” Heath said. “Our young guys are getting experience. But we have to be able to play all 40 minutes.”
The Eagles are trying to take the ball to the basket and shoot some threes, Heath said, and they’re improving.
They made 11 of 22 three-point attempts against Cosumnes River, with McClendon going 4 for 4, Gaitors 2 for 3, Velazquez 2 for 4, and Lopez 3 for 8.
Heath pointed to another good sign: “They’re staying together. You wouldn’t be able to tell their record from the way they practice. They’re working better together, and no one’s quit.”
Cabrillo (4-5) has already played five games against Golden Valley Conference teams, splitting a pair against Shasta while defeating Siskiyous and Redwoods and losing to Butte.