Valley’s basketball teams looking for consistency as season progresses

The Lady Monarchs started the season hot but dropped their last two games, while the men’s team has struggled to finish games strong.

By Edward Segal, Staff Writer

(L-R) Santa Barbara Player Jaelen Bates plays offense against David Rauda while Maxx Hazely is blocked by Adam Weingard during Valley's home game against Santa Barbara. Valley College, Nov. 10, 2021 (Luis Flores/ The Valley Star)

While Valley’s women’s basketball team came out strong to start the season, the men’s team has struggled to close out games and beat their opponents.

Both teams have struggled in the second half, allowing their opponents to build up momentum and never look back. The Lady Monarchs (2-2) averaged 14 points in the second half of their two losses, compared to the 39 point average in their two wins. The men’s team (0-5) has a similar problem, giving up 64 points in the second half to LA Southwest in the first game of their last tournament, the Pasadena Crown Classic, encapsulating the struggles they have had so far.

According to men’s assistant coach Val Khamenia, the men’s team had six injuries, including freshman Noe Tchouamo and freshman Christopher Barrera, who will most likely miss the remainder of the season. Khamenia said that these injuries, along with the team not having played for two years, are the reasons they are struggling.

“The main thing for us is patience,” said Khamenia. “In the COVID year, a lot of the guys did not play basketball. Some of them came straight from high school. A lot of adjustments [must be made] for them and for us too. It’s the process, we just gotta be patient and stay positive. That’s the key.”

After having their last game against Ventura College postponed, the men’s team will look to turn things around at the West LA College Wild West Shootout, taking place from Dec. 2-4, and end their losing streak. Valley’s first matchup is against LA Southwest College. The Wild West Shootout is a single elimination tournament with a consolation bracket, which guarantees every team three games.

On the women’s side of things, their second-half offense has been inconsistent, resulting in them dropping their last two games to Irvine Valley and Moorpark College. Forward Chellsiea Benitez, guard/forward Jordyn Jiron and guard Brianna Torres are all coming off a game against Irvine in which they each scored 10 points, and will look to continue the efficient offensive at the Tom Gilcrest Invitational, taking place from Dec. 2-4.

The single elimination tournament, just like the Wild West Shootout, has both a consolation bracket. Valley’s first game is against Delta College, and the rest of the matchups will be determined by the result of that game and others.

Following the pandemic taking away a year of action, most players have come back to the game for the first time since 2019. Valley football coach Lester Towns said his players struggled in a similar way, and it takes a lot to come back and keep playing.

“I saw a lot of guys change and go through a lot of changes because of what we had to endure during this time right now,” said Towns. “I would remember this team for being the post-COVID team. I’ll remember going through that and coming out the other side and being able to play a season.”

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