NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Thanks to a late second-half surge, the Glendale Community College men's basketball team was right back in the game.
But, while the Vaqueros had several chances to complete a comeback from down as many as nine points to Los Angeles Southwest in the championship game of the Vaquero Classic Tournament on Saturday night, Coach Brian Beauchemin doubted that enough of his team's heart and soul was ever in the 68-65 loss that acted as a speed bump in Glendale's otherwise fast start to the season.
"We just seemed to be lethargic, I don't know, I had guys that were a little bit comatose," said Beauchemin, whose team is now 9-4. "That's the way I guess young kids sometimes react. We're back to the drawing board. We had a nice little run going here and I thought we played pretty well up until tonight.
"I'm trying to generate some enthusiasm, but we just didn't have it."
Over about a three-minute span beginning at the 9:30 mark of the second half, Glendale mounted a 12-3 run to even the score at 50 on two free throws by Antonio Garrett, who scored 10 of his 12 points after halftime.
From there on, the Vaqueros were never to take the lead, but tied the game three more times down the stretch, with the last coming on a three-point play by Garrett that knotted things at 61 with 1:03 left.
Southwest's Stephon Dafney then made it 64-61 with a three-pointer from the corner with 40 seconds remaining. Demetrius Perkins got a contested look at a three at the other end and Garrett came up short on a putback before Narbeh Ebrahamian came up with another offensive board and cut the lead to 64-63 on two free throws with 17 seconds left.
That was as close as Glendale would get though, as even with a putback from Suilaiman Sekamwa, who led the Vaqueros with 17 points and earned all-tournament honors, that made it 66-65 with two seconds left, Glendale couldn't stop Southwest from converting at the free-throw line.
"I don't think it should have come to us stretching the game out," Beauchemin said. "We were not in sync. …I don't think we were very efficient with the ball, we had 19 turnovers to a team that really wasn't pressuring us that well.
"We didn't shoot the ball very well and they made plays when they had to, we didn't."
The first half was back-and-forth for the first 16 minutes until Southwest closed out the half on a 9-2 run to take a 35-28 halftime lead.
Southwest then went ice cold from the field to start the second half, going seven and a half minutes without a field goal. Still, Glendale could not catch up, getting only as close as 39-37 before Southwest took its biggest lead of the game, 47-38, with 10:10 remaining.
Glendale used two three-pointers from Nate Bryant and a breakaway layup by Sekamwa to spark its big rally.
"[We had] just a little better execution, I thought," Beauchemin said of the rally. "We started finding some guys and making some shots. We're better when we run, we didn't run very well tonight."