The Pasadena City College men's basketball team goes into a the holiday break on a high note after winning the consolation title at the College of Sequoias Kirby Mannon Tournament Dec. 15-17. The Lancers ran their record to 7-6 and captured the fifth place trophy by defeating Shasta, 67-52, on Sunday.
The Lancers "sixth man" and sophomore guard Kyle Mitchell again sparked his team coming off the bench. Mitchell netted game highs 20 points and nine rebounds along with four assists. It was a fitting return for the 6-foot-3 Mitchell to Sequoias, his first college desitination as a freshman three years ago, as he was named to the All-Sequoias Tournament Team.
PCC trailed 17-13 when Mitchell entered the game as he immediately assisted on two baskets. Then the Morningside High product heated up with four consecutive baskets capped on a jumper that extended the Lancers lead to 26-21 with eight minutes left in the first half. PCC kept up the pressure and built its lead to 41-28 by halftime.
Both teams went cold for the first 5-1/2 minutes of the second half before Mitchell finally hit a free throw that ended the scoreless drought. He followed with a steal and jumper as the Lancers never were threatened by Shasta the rest of the contest. Mitchell made 9-for-11 from the field overall (.818). Frosh guard Josiah Woods added 16 points while transfer forward Joe Hampton had 15 points. Letterman guard Will Johnson totaled six points, four assists and six rebounds.
In the conso semifinals played Saturday, Woods poured in 25 points, including making four 3-pointers, and freshman forward Jordan Simpson was a force in reserve with 12 points, seven rebounds and a team season-high six blocked shots. Coming off the bench, first-year guard Justin Brown tallied 13 points.
Similar to the win over Shasta, the Lancers were behind in the first half, 24-18 and then 29-28, but Simpson scored five straight points followed by a Brown trey in a late rally for a 36-30 Pasadena halftime lead. In the second half, Simpson slammed in a pair of dunks to extend the lead and Brown and Woods drilled back-to-back 3s to later make it 60-48 with 10 minutes remaining. Contra Costa closed to within four, 65-61, but Woods made a layup and sank another long-range basket to put the game away.
PCC opened the COS tourney with a hard-luck 54-49 loss to SoCal No. 11-ranked Ventura. The Pirates jumped in front 8-0, but the Lancers eventually took a 31-28 halftime lead. After shooting 50 percent from the field in the opening half, PCC had trouble inside the circle in the final 20 minutes. The team made only one field goal in 17 inside shots and were only 5-for-26 overall. The poor FG shooting allowed Ventura to stay close. Woods hit a 3 for a 44-40 Lancers lead with less than nine minutes to go. Jacob Alonzo bombed in a 3 which gave Ventura the lead for good at 46-44 with six minutes remaining. In the last few minutes, Woods sank two free throws that cut it to 51-49, but three turnovers on the next three Pasadena possessions flubbed the rally.
Mitchell was the only Lancer in double digits scoring with 17 points (and six rebounds, three steals). Ross Lee added eight points. Alonzo led Ventura with 15 points.
PCC MEN'S CAGER NOTES: In beating Shasta, PCC matched its entire win total of last season (seven) before the new year...According to game logs going back to the early 1990s, PCC had not faced Shasta before in men's basketball. It was the first time the team played against Contra Costa since 1955 and first win v. CCC in 65 years...The Lancers shot a season-best 57 percent from the field against Shasta (29-for-51)...PCC is 0-2 v. Ventura this year and the points scored and against in Friday's loss were each season lows...PCC head coach Michael Swanegan now has 233 career collegiate wins, 116 at PCC (the other 117 at Mt. San Antonio) as he is in his 19th year at the community college level, 11th at Pasadena...Hampton is the team's leading scorer this year at 16.6 points per game...PCC next travels to San Luis Obispo for the Cuesta Hinson Tire Pros Winter Classic Jan. 5-7, beginning with a first round game v. the host Cougars...The Lancers open South Coast Conference North Division play on Wednesday, Jan. 17 at at state No. 9-ranked East Los Angeles.