Rams fall to West Hills

The Gavilan College men’s basketball team fought its way back
twice in the second half Saturday night against West Hills, but
slid on the short end 77-61 in a non-league contest at home.
GILROY – The Gavilan College men’s basketball team fought its way back twice in the second half Saturday night against West Hills, but slid on the short end 77-61 in a non-league contest at home.

The Rams (2-5) have already won more games than they have the last two years and continue to improve as the season goes along.

“The kids played hard today,” said head coach Chris Shoemaker. “I’m not proud of the result, but I am proud of the effort. We’ve shown that we can compete. But at the same time, we’ve shown that we need to clean things up if we’re going to move from a team that just competes to a team that wins.”

The Falcons (3-3) were up by as much as 13 points in the first half, but Erik Nelson arched in a 3-pointer to move the Rams within seven with 3:16 left in the half.

Down by nine at intermission, a 3-pointer by Jimmy Herrera with 15:15 left in the game completed the Rams comeback, closing the gap to 43-39.

However, that was as close as the Rams could manage.

The Falcons moved up by as many as 15 points before Jimmy Cheatum converted a 3-point play after he was fouled on his way to the bucket. Maurice Davis then came up with a steal and drove down the court to bring the Rams within 64-57 with four minutes left.

“In the second half, we had it cut to four. But, we missed layups on back-to-back possessions,” said Shoemaker. “Then they went down and hit a three to start a little run.”

Rams reserves Chris Primitivo, Rodney Holland and Alan Aubuchon found themselves in the starting lineup joining staples Cheatum and Herrera. Shoemaker made the move to bench three regular starters, who were late for the shoot-around before the game.

“We have to make sure that we are real solid away from the gym and we’re real solid on the practice floor so it will carry over to game time,” said Shoemaker. “We don’t play guys that are late for practice or miss practice. The guys that started the game gave a great effort. So did the guys that came in about the eight-minute mark. West Hills had a very athletic group on the floor.”

Herrera led the Rams in scoring with 13 points, while Jody McAlpine and Davis had 12 points each for the Rams.

“They challenged us, and we were able to step up” said West Hills coach Mark Arce. “I was worried there. I thought they would charge back and get ahead of us. I was very impressed with Gavilan’s intensity. They never give up. They played really hard. I got to see them on tape from earlier in the year, and I think they are continuing to improve. And I really like what their coaches are doing with them.”

The Rams enter play against Sierra College in the Monterey Peninsula College Tournament Dec. 5-7.

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