Ventura, Mathews Find Substitution for Defense : College basketball: Coach goes to the bench and Pirate reserves shut down Hancock, 104-77.


Ventura College basketball Coach Philip Mathews knows how to get results.

After watching his team struggle during the first 10 minutes of a Western State Conference game against Hancock Saturday night, Mathews angrily ordered for substitutions.

The result was a 15-3 run that gave Ventura a 29-18 lead and helped the Pirates coast to a 104-77 victory.

Damian Cantrell scored 21 points for Ventura (26-0, 4-0 in WSC North Division) and also grabbed 14 rebounds.


“Damian has had a nine- to 10-game slump and it looks like he’s getting out of it,” Mathews said. “This is the third straight game that he has played well.”

Hancock (5-17, 0-4) frustrated Ventura early. A tomahawk dunk by Jason Wright with 10 minutes left in the half gave the Bulldogs a 15-14 lead.

Mathews said Ventura’s overall grade was a B-minus.

“We played well in spots tonight,” he said. “That’s typical for a young team such as ours but we need to correct that.”


Ventura stepped up its defense compared to Wednesday night’s 106-100 victory against Cuesta.

“I took it personally that Cuesta scored 100 points against us,” Cantrell said. “We didn’t step up against them but that wasn’t going to happen tonight.

“Teams shouldn’t be scoring more than 50 or 60 points against us.”

Ventura, the No. 1-ranked team in the state, cruised through much of the second half and led by as many as 33 points.


However, there was one brief delay for Ventura.

Hancock Coach Robert White asked the officials to clear the first three rows of bleachers behind the Bulldogs’ bench.

Matthews immediately jumped to his feet, took the microphone from the public address announcer and asked those fans to find other seats.

“That’s a conference rule and it’s the first time I’ve had to enforce it,” Matthews said, referring to a rule stating the first three rows behind a team’s bench must be empty.


Charles Woodard added 15 points for Ventura with three alley-oop dunks among his baskets.

Wright finished with 17 points for Hancock.