NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Brian Beauchemin doesn’t know what to expect.
He is not certain that his Glendale Community College men’s basketball team will be awarded a postseason spot when the pairings are announced Monday.
“I stopped forecasting [the playoffs] years ago,” he said. “The only guarantee in life is taxes and death.”
The Vaqueros made a strong case that they belong in the playoffs with their performance on Saturday.
Despite a slow start, Glendale defeated visiting Bakersfield, 76-57, in a Western State Conference Southern Division game that assured the Vaqueros a third-place spot in the division.
The win was the 18th of the season for the Vaqueros, who finished the regular season with an 18-10 mark, including 7-5 in the division.
“For a team to have 18 wins, it is considered a ‘quality’ team,” Beauchemin said. “But you never know. You leave things to chance, something always happens.”
A loss on Saturday might have been devastating to the Vaqueros’ hopes of advancing.
The Vaqueros started slow, making only one shot through the first five minutes against a Bakersfield squad they defeated, 66-62, in the first round of conference play.
But their offense improved, as did their rebounding, and the Vaqueros quickly built a lead that mushroomed to 15 points in the second half.
Sophomore Nate Bryant had a team-high 18 points on a seven-for-10 shooting performance. He was four of 10 from three-point territory, and teammate Suilaiman Sekamwa had 12 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. Narbeh Ebrahimian had 12 points for the Vaqueros.
“It was our ‘Sophomore Night’ and you don’t want to lose the last one,” Ebrahimian, a Crescenta Valley High graduate, said.
Nikolas Rhodes, a freshman who is the Vaqueros’ leading scorer at 12 points per game this season, had 11 points, four steals and three assists. Glendale’s Demetrius Perkins and Keylean Davis had eight points apiece.
Sekamwa, a sophomore, knew the importance of Saturday’s game.
“It was very important,” he said. “We’re on the border. I think this game seals it.”
The Vaqueros sealed the win with their free-throw shooting. They were 19 of 24 from the charity stripe. Bakersfield — which was led by Cooper Damron’s 24 points and 22 rebounds — attempted just four free throws.
The 19-point victory was Glendale college’s second win of more than 10 points in conference play. Its previous best was a 12-point win against L.A. Valley on Jan. 29.
“That’s unbelievable [that it’s just our second win],” Vaquero assistant coach Vigen Jilizian said. “That’s why we’re always coaching like we’re insane.”
They hope to continue to coach in the playoffs.