GLENDALE — It was the ideal first half for the Glendale Community College men’s basketball team when it hosted Bakersfield in the Vaqueros’ final nonconference game Wednesday.
In the opening half, Glendale rebounded, forced turnovers and, most importantly, scored enough to head into halftime with a 20-point lead.
As the second half began, the visiting Renegades found their shot, beat the hosts on the boards stormed back to cut the Vaqueros’ lead to two points with 10 minutes left.
Then, with 7:45 left, Glendale sophomore Isaac Etter hit a three-point shot after missing his first five shots of the second half to establish an 11-point run.
Glendale college used the run to hang on and grab its second home win of the season with a 90-75 victory.
“We had some good looks, but it didn’t go,” Glendale coach Vigen Jilizian said. “Defensively, we got a little relaxed. We were switching and jumping really hard in the first half. In the second half, we just kind of waited for them to miss and we wanted to go play offense.
“When it got tight, we called a timeout and said let’s go back to what we needed to do and we got a little more aggressive. Give them credit. They’re a good team. Their record was 11-2 in their last 13 games, so they’ve been winning some games. We knew they’d come back a little.”
Glendale (7-11) was aggressive on both ends of the court and outrebounded Bakersfield, 23-14, in the first half, which included a 7-3 offensive rebound advantage.
The Vaqueros forced 12 turnovers in the first half, including four steals from Isaac Etter, as the former Bellarmine-Jefferson High standout scored 22 points in the opening half.
“We just told the guys we wanted to be aggressive going to the offensive boards and getting some hustle plays, and we did that,” Jilizian said about Glendale’s first half. “They manned us and we’re pretty good against a man-defense. We have good guards that can get to the basket and we’re smart. We told them don’t settle for the first good look — attack it. Maybe get the second, third [look]. Go from a good shot to a great shot. We did that.”
Etter finished with a game-high 31 points on 10 of 21 shooting to go along with nine rebounds and seven steals.
Glendale sophomore and Burroughs graduate Steven Hubbell added 23 points with four three-pointers, as the pair sparked the Vaqueros late in the second half to fend off the surging Renegades (12-7).
The Vaqueros had five players score in double figures as the bench contributed 21 points.
Etter knocked down the game’s first shot, and, fittingly, the first half’s last shot.
The sophomore’s scoring run kicked in at the 16-minute mark with a pair of threes and a mid-range jumper for eight points in less than a minute to establish a 15-8 Glendale lead.
“We just came out hot,” Etter said. “We knew coming into this game that they beat us before at their house and we wanted revenge, so we wanted to pick up where we left off and just play better than we did.”
The Vaqueros then went on a 7-0 run as Etter added four more points and Hubbell knocked down a shot from three-point range to establish a 22-8 lead with 13:12 in the half.
“We knew they were going to come out to play, so we tried to match their intensity and, if not, double that,” Hubbell said.
Bakersfield guard Jeffrey Lee sank a three-pointer with 13 minutes left in the half to lift the Renegades out of a scoring slump. But Glendale proceeded on a 9-2 run for a 31-13 lead with a little more than 10 minutes left in the first period.
Etter again went on his own scoring run and posted six points to give the Vaqueros a 41-21 lead with 6:33 left.
With less than five minutes left, the Vaqueros had three steals, but only added two points for a 20-point lead with 4:05 left.
Glendale went cold in the final three minutes of the half, but Etter drove to the basket with four seconds left to give the Vaqueros a 52-30 halftime lead.
The Vaqueros didn’t score until the 18:03 mark of the second half, and by that time, the Renegades had hit back-to-back layups for a 54-34 Glendale lead.
Bakersfield continued its scoring spree and capped a 13-2 run before Hubbell knocked down a pair of free throws. At that point, Glendale’s once 20-point lead dwindled to 54-43 with 16:12 remaining.
Bakersfield hit a series of three-pointers four minutes later that saw Renegades guard Anieus Medrano convert three of the visitors’ five shots from the perimeter to make it a 63-61 game with 10:02 to go.
After the Vaqueros regrouped for their 11-0 run, the Renegades cut the lead again, 77-67, with 4:54 remaining.
Medrano, who led the Renegades with 21 points and six three-pointers, hit his fourth three-pointer of the second half with 3:30 left to make it a 79-70 Glendale lead.
The Vaqueros will look to gain momentum as they head into in their Western State Conference East Division opener against visiting Barstow at 3 p.m. Saturday.
“We start out with a home game and we’ve won two good games at home,” Jilizian said. “We beat a good Saddleback team and now Bakersfield so, that’s what we talk about. Have a couple of good practices, make sure we’re healthy, come out and play hard and see what happens.”