Pirates Bury Monarchs in Pre-Season Opener

Basketball: Monarchs lose third pre-season game.

By Romeo Gonzalez, Sports Editor

In a game of runs, the Valley College men’s basketball team did not have enough legs or offense to beat the Ventura College Pirates Wednesday, falling 80-74.

Valley hosted the pre-season contest, which saw several lead changes but not enough teamwork to get the job done.

“We are still trying to learn each other; we have so many new guys, so many freshman,” said the Monarch coach Virgil Watson. “We are still trying to build our chemistry.”

The Monarchs got off to a quick start, jumping ahead 11-2 thanks to some excellent shooting by Valley forward Andrew Estes—who ended the game with 18 points. The 6-foot-3 forward knocked down two shots from behind the arc three minutes into the game.

“On any given night, we are trying to take advantage of who’s hot or who’s taking advantage of their opponent,” Watson said. “We have our driver. If they (defenses) want to double him, we throw it out.”

Ventura rallied to get a run of their own and took a 16-14 lead with 13:45 left to play in the first half.

It was a game of runs the first half. After the Pirates took a two-point lead, the Monarchs put together another offensive run of their own.

Estes got the Monarchs rolling after making another 3-point shot to spark the green and gold to a 6-0 run, giving the Monarchs a 22-16 with 10:30 to go before the break.

Ventura held a slim 39-36 lead at intermission.

“[Ventura] is a very good team, so they’re going to make that fight to come back,” Watson said. “We are learning how to make that fight together; we fought individually but we need to fight together.”

At the start of the second half, the Pirates’ momentum continued. Ventura’s John McMurry—who ended the game with 15 points— hit two shots from 3-point territory to help the Pirates take a 10 point lead two minutes into the second half.

Just as in the first half, the Monarchs’ offense put together an 8-0 run cutting the lead to 48-46 with four minutes into the second half.

Valley failed to take advantage of Ventura’s foul trouble and missing assignment in the final 20 minutes.

The Pirates led by nine with a little over eight minutes left to play in the game. Over the next six minutes, Ventura scored two points, giving the Monarchs an opportunity to bring the game to a close 67-65.

Ventura ended the game with a 13-9 run to secure a Pirates’ victory.

“Our team came together and hit some free throws,” said Pirates guard Ivan Dooley. “We stayed together, taking care of the ball.”

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