MONTEREY – The SBCC men’s basketball team held Diablo Valley to 33 second half points, its fewest for any opponent this season, to defeat the Vikings 79-75 on day two of the Monterey Bay Classic.
Strong bench play yielded team-leading scoring outings from guard Elijah Simpson and forward Billy Whitting, who led the Vaqueros (4-6) with 13 points apiece.
Point guard Isaiah Hicks also stepped up off the bench with 12 points on a 5-of-6 shooting night. Forward Adam Weingard and guard Wilfrid Nado also reached double-figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
“Highly dramatic game, very high emotions, and we showed enormous grit and determination when three of our starters went down with injuries,” head coach Devin Engebretsen said. “It shows that you always have to be ready to compete. You never know what will happen throughout the course of a game.”
Simpson put together his most complete performance of the season, posting season-highs across the board. The Palos Verdes, Calif., native pulled in seven rebounds, dished out four assists and was everywhere on the defensive end with five blocks and four steals.
“Elijah played like a man possessed tonight,” Engebretsen said. “Isaiah came in with huge buckets when Jaelen Bates got hurt. Billy, on his 21st birthday, hit a huge three with a minute left to give us a two-point lead, and he made the final two free throws on a 1-and-1 with two seconds left to seal the win.”
Guard JJ Fain, who leads the team in three-pointers off the bench this season with 10, hit back-to-back second half threes for his six points, cutting into what was a nine-point DVC (4-4) lead with about 11 minutes to go.
“That really spurred a nice run, and the game was in reach the rest of the way,” said Engebretsen. “We made huge defensive plays under three minutes. Elijah had two blocks including one on the baseline with less than 20 seconds left with only a two-point lead. The block got us the ball and they had to foul.”
The Vaqueros will close out their weekend in Monterey against Hartnell at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at SBCC.