A team for the books

City College men's basketball coach Andrew Jones instructs team in a time out during the 2011-2012 season. Kate Paloy | katepaloy.express@gmail.com

The City College men’s basketball team finished its season Feb. 22, ranking No. 15 in Northern California. It’s the team’s highest ranking since 2005, according to head men’s basketball coach Andrew Jones.

City College hosted the playoff game against Coalinga’s West Hills, losing 66-60 in overtime and ending the season with a 16-10 record. “We had a similar record last year, but qualifying for the playoffs was huge,” said Jones.

Jones said the team overcame many obstacles last season.

“Six games ago we lost two of our main players, after losing to American River College, who ranked last in our conference,” said Jones. Jones said one player quit  and the other was ineligible after being dropped from a class.

Although the team lost two of its best players, Jones said, the team still won three of its last fi ve games and beat Cosumnes River College and Sierra College to qualify for the playoffs.

The team’s members attribute much of this season’s success to their coach.

“Andrews is a great coach,” said business major and shooting guard Xavier Williford.

“He’s been coaching for a while now, so he definitely knows what he’s doing.”

The team seemed to be playing under the radar this season and was not expected to do well, said Williford.

“We may have done better if the team stayed intact throughout the entire season, but I feel we did very well with the players we had,” said Williford.

Even though the team faced multiple obstacles, Jones says it also had multiple comebacks this season. Most memorably, he said, were the games against Cosumnes and Sierra.

“The win over Cosumnes, we came back from 12 points down, and the win over Sierra, we came from 15 points down, both in the second half, allowing us to win very close games,” said Jones.

In the final game against West Hills, with just over two minutes on the clock and down by seven points, City College scored the final seven points, forcing the game into overtime.

“This is basketball. You’re not gonna win every game,” said Jones. “But this team never quits.”

Overall, Jones says the team’s biggest struggle was defense.

“Being fundamentally sound on defense is something we struggled with all season,” said Jones. “We made up for it with effort, but it hurt us in our last game.”

Despite the team’s challenges, Jones said he is still confident that, next season he’ll have a pretty good team

His team members agreed.

“Coach Jones grew just as much as we did,” said sophomore shooting guard and kinesiology major Israel King. “It was just as much of a challenge for him as it was for us. I think he did a great job.”