2012-2013 Men's Basketball Preview--Lancers Open 1-2 At Ventura Tournament
A 3-point loss v. a perennial state power, an 8-point victory, and an overtime defeat opened the 2012-2013 season for the Pasadena City College men's basketball team this weekend. The Lancers were 1-2, losing the consolation title game to Moorpark, 88-78, in overtime Saturday at the Ventura College We Play Hard Tournament (held Nov. 8-10).
PCC head coach Michael Swanegan, in his sixth season in charge of the Lancers, is trying to build from last year's strong 16-12 campaign. PCC finished in second place in the South Coast Conference North Division, but had the distinction of being the only second place team in the state left out of the regional playoff field.
Pasadena appears to have put together a near-perfect balance of experience and youth. The roster includes eight sophomores, four returning lettermen from last season, two from two seasons ago, and two transfers, to go along with seven freshmen.
The team opened with a 66-63 loss to state pre-season No. 5 ranked Saddleback on Thursday. Lancers' guard Mike Swanegan, the son of the head coach, saw his first action since February, 2011 and poured in 23 points.
On Friday, PCC downed Orange Coast, 82-74, as letterman forward Alec Tatum totaled 20 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman guard Gary Matthews (Whittier High) added 16 points, Swanegan 13, returning forward Marquise Tolson 10, and 6-foot-6, freshman forward Bryce Clifton (Clackamas High, from Oregon) 10. The Lancers outscored the Pirates by 16 points in the second half.
The Lancers went 74-74 in regulation v. Moorpark on Saturday. With four seconds left, Clifton missed a 17-foot jumper that almost won the game for PCC. In the 5-minute extra period, Moorpark's Matt Ramon scored six of his game-high 23 points. The Raiders controlled the OT, outscoring PCC, 14-4. All-SCC Second Team and sophomore returning guard Chris Smith tallied 14 points, 6-foot-9, returning center Lorelle Martin had 10 points, and freshman point guard Jeffrey Dockett (Bartlett High, Tennessee) added 10 points.
Rounding out the PCC roster are transfer sophomores Alex Brooks (guard) and Stephen Shares (guard, Pasadena High), returning guard from two years ago Evan Brooks, and the following freshmen--guard Samuel Stirgus (from Bonnabel High in Louisiana), 6-5 forward Sylvester Ejchorszt (Vallejo High), 6-7 center Tramel McClough (Woodside HS, East Palo Alto), and 6-5 forward Elijah Barber (Burbank High).
"We don't have the super scorer like we did with Givon Crump last year, but we do have several different players who can put up points," Coach Swanegan said. "The maturing progress of the sophomores will dictate how well we play in pre-conference. Over time, our freshmen will make a difference for us."
[Photo--Bryce Clifton goes up for a layup during PCC's season opener v. Saddleback Thursday at the Ventura College Tournament, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]