NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Two games, a pair of impressive performances and more importantly, a couple of victories.
It is far too early in the season to make bold playoff predictions, but the Glendale Community College men's basketball team is off to a solid start to the new campaign.
The Vaqueros defeated Compton College, 90-82, on Saturday night to win the Vaquero Tip-Off Classic for a second consecutive year.
"Being 2-0 is a lot better than being 0-2," Vaquero Coach Brian Beauchemin said. "We're happy. We're excited to get this season going."
As is typical of Beauchemin, he noted his team's weaknesses before heaping further praise.
"We still have a lot of work to do, though," said Beauchemin, who notched his 548th career victory. "We got a lot of work on defense, but we make shots, and that's an equalizer for sure.
"We just have to get better defensively."
His defense, and his team's efficient offense, had a five-minute lapse that frustrated the coach.
The Vaqueros controlled the first half, as they never trailed by more than one point in the opening 20 minutes. They forced nine turnovers and were aggressive on offense — they shot 20 first-half free throws — as they took a four-point lead into halftime.
In the first five minutes of the second half, 20 minutes of hard work nearly went to waste.
Compton used a 14-2 run — thanks to 10 points from David Richardson — to take a 55-47 lead. Richardson led Compton with 25 points.
"In the first five games, things happen that you're not acclimated to yet," said Beauchemin, whose team defeated Santa Barbara College, 78-62, in the opening round of the tournament.
"They started using a half-court press, and we made adjustments, but those adjustments were slow."
The Vaqueros kept their composure and rallied back, with Robert Henry and Hoover High graduate Shara Babakhanian leading the way.
Henry had a team-high 15 points, 11 of which came after Compton's rally in the second half. The freshman also contributed four assists, two in each half.
Babakhanian added 13 points, also 11 in the second half, and pulled down seven rebounds. Teammate Marquis Brooks had 11 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists, and Soreen Derboghosian-Pakajaki had eight points and eight rebounds. Sammy Darling also had eight points for the Vaqueros.
"We knew if we settled down, we could break their press," Henry said.
With Compton holding an eight-point lead, the Vaqueros used an 18-7 run over six minutes to take a lead. Once the Vaqueros took the lead, they simply built on it and comfortably came away with another title.