Men’s Basketball Defeats Imperial Valley College 84-69 for Fourth Win in Conference

Racheal Habon, Features Editor

Racheal Habon
Olympian guard Aren Thomas hits a 3-pointer to become one of the lead scorers for the team

The San Diego Mesa College’s men’s basketball team defeated Imperial Valley College 84-69 at home on Feb. 8. Olympian starters Adrian Lee and Aren Thomas were both the lead scorers for the team, each scoring 18 points.

“This was definitely a must-win game for us,” said Head Coach Travis Nichols. After losing the past two away games, the Olympians’ hustle led to the team’s victory Friday night, securing a 4-2 record in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

It was an intense game as Imperial Valley College was clearly determined for payback since their loss against Mesa in the conference opener on their home court. Imperial Valley was the first to score and it was a close game early on.

The score remained at 4-8 already seven minutes into the game until Olympian guard Jorge Ramirez’s quick layup picked up the momentum. The team began to play with a lot of energy, and in combination with great defense, was able to pull away with the lead in the first half.

The enthusiastic crowd grew louder and louder as the game picked up speed. By halftime, the Olympians were up almost 10 points, at 33-24. Imperial Valley was the first to score again in the second half. It remained a close game as both teams had some good plays, but the game got really fired up when Olympian guard Thomas hit a couple three-pointers. Loud cheers and applause were heard from the energized crowd. The lead margin for Mesa seemed to be growing, but Imperial Valley fought back.

Imperial Valley managed to quickly make it a five point game and the teams took a time-out. The score was 49-44 with 12 minutes left in the game. Imperial Valley fans grew more confident but their cheers were stifled when Olympian forward Cameron Hill scored with a fast bucket. It continued to be an intensely close match as the game progressed.

It was now just a one point game at 56-55 with nine minutes left and the teams took another time-out. It was still an extremely close game when both teams returned to the court. Tensions rose when the refs called an out-of-bounds call and the whole gym filled with blaring outrage.

Later another time-out was called and Mesa was up 62-57 with eight minutes left. Mesa showed some tremendous teamwork upon returning to the game and was able to score three times back-to-back. Mesa utilized good ball movement, obtained key rebounds, and made most free throws, allowing the Olympians to pull away with the lead. The score was now 74-57 with just five minutes left in the game.

Imperial Valley was able to make some buckets during the last minutes of the game but ultimately, was not able to catch up to the Olympians. Mesa seized its fourth win in the conference by 15 points.

“I’m proud of our guys that they came to play early on,” said Coach Nichols. “Down the stretch we started to make some minimal mistakes, but they stuck with the gameplan which helped for us, and I’m just proud of the way that they ended this game.”

Afterwards, Olympian starter Josh Elder Davis said, “we’ve been playing great as a team since we got to conference. Aren and Jorge are carrying us right now. I feel like as long as we keep getting wins, we can win our conference.”