Pasadena City College men’s basketball defeated LA Pierce 74-51 in the final game of the 5th annual Skip Robinson Classic tournament on Saturday. This is the Lancers’ third win in as many days, bringing their season record to 4 wins and 3 losses.
In front of a modest crowd, the Lancers established an early lead with 14 uncontested points in the first few minutes and managed to maintain a 20 point lead over the visiting LA Pierce Broncos for the majority of the game.
Attempting to fight back from a 44-25 deficit after the first half, LA Pierce returned in the second with high energy, their team chanting “defense” from courtside. But defense seemed to remain a chant more than an actual practice.
The Lancers showed fatigue at the start of the second half but overcame it quickly. PCC’s hunger showed in their aggressive gameplay, a trade off that resulted in much more ball ownership but, at a point, outpacing LA Pierce in fouls 8 to 1.
LA Pierce stuck to zone defense while PCC opted for more intensive on-man coverage. This made for predictable gameplay for LA Pierce, which the Lancers answered with regimented, organized systems that prioritized the fundamentals over individual shine. Sophomore point guard Jayden Winfrey moved the ball around the court with purpose, opting to set his teammates up for success instead of taking the shots himself. Winfrey’s first points didn’t come until just 10 minutes remained in the game.
“I’m just trying to get my teammates involved and give them everything I got because I know they’d do the same for me,” Winfrey said. “I’ve always been pass first so I just got everybody else going and everybody else was flying so I didn’t want to mess that up.”
The Lancers’ newfound organization and structure can be attributed to new head coach Ryan Frazer.
“My mentality has always just been being grateful and approaching every game like it’s an opportunity to give your best,” Frazer said. “A standard of excellence and coming out here and making sure we’re competing and putting ourselves in a position to win, day by day and brick by brick.”
His influence is apparent not only on the scoreboard but also in the way his team makes decisions on the court. You won’t see the same recklessness that you did last season. Sophomore guard Rande Harper feels the new leadership motivates his team as well.
“I feel like coaching is the biggest thing,” Harper said. “I feel like just our mentality, I feel like this year we’re more hungry. We got a target on our back and we’re targeting other teams just as well. Last year the record wasn’t so good. This year we’re trying to change that and let other teams know that we’re just as good as them if not better. Every night we just come out here and prove our worth and we trust Coach.”
PCC hosted the Skip Robinson Classic Thursday-Saturday at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium. In addition to LA Pierce, the 9 game round robin tournament included teams from Glendale, Antelope Valley, Barstow, and Mt. San Antonio. The event is named in honor of former PCC athletic director Skip Robinson, a member of the PCC Sports Hall of Fame and omnipresent alumni of the college.