NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Maybe things were just too good to be true in the first half for the Glendale Community College men's basketball team Saturday.
Whatever the reason, the Vaqueros saw a 19-point halftime lead disappear at home with Bakersfield College rallying for a 75-73 Western State Conference victory.
“It just fell apart,” Glendale Coach Brian Beauchemin said. “We missed shots, they got to the line and that was it. We got in foul trouble again and that's it.”
Glendale (8-9, 0-2 in conference) badly needed a player to step up Saturday and stop the Renegades’ second-half run, which wound up being 50-29, and it appeared it finally got that when Chris Kapooshian banked in a half-court three-pointer with 1.5 seconds left in the game to give the home team a 76-75 advantage.
Vaqueros fans erupted but the bucket was waved off because GCC's coaching staff called timeout just before Kapooshian got the shot off.
With 1.8 seconds left, Glendale drew up an inbounds play for Kapooshian, hoping he could repeat with a game-winner, but his follow-up three was off the mark to seal the win for Bakersfield (8-8, 2-0).
It wasn't something Beauchemin cared to discuss in detail after the game.
“I guess it was,” said Beauchemin when asked if it was just unlucky.
It seemed the Vaqueros wouldn't need luck to win when they held a 44-25 lead at halftime and held the Renegades to 24% shooting from the floor, while shooting 52% themselves. All of a sudden Glendale went cold in the second half – it shot just 37% – and Bakersfield got hot, shooting 52% in the final 20 minutes.
“All of a sudden we forgot how to play, it's just amazing,” Beauchemin said.
The Renegades climbed back in the game by slowing it down, getting to the line – shooting 24 free throws in the second half – and taking advantage of the Vaqueros’ 11 second-half turnovers and inability to string baskets together.
“We made some bad lack-of-composure plays down the stretch and when you lose your composure in basketball that's everything,” Beauchemin said.
On a few occasions, it seemed Glendale would brush off Bakersfield's push and settle down. First, GCC's Gor Plavchyan (13 points, 13 rebounds) threw down a dunk with 11:45 to go in the game to halt a 13-5 Renegades run and keep the Vaqs up 15, 57-42.
Bakersfield immediately shifted into another 12-4 run and cut Glendale's advantage to seven, 61-54, with 7:55 to go.
Glendale's Alex Bullock attempted to rally the troops when he threw down an absolute monster dunk with 7:47 to go to keep the home team up, 63-54.
The cry went unanswered with Bakersfield putting together a 19-6 run, which was highlighted by 11 points from Duncan Schramm (16 points), to take its first lead of the game, 73-71, with 35 seconds remaining on a Schramm layup.
The Vaqueros failed to make a field goal in the final 2:10 of the game, but managed to tie the game at 73 with 31 seconds to go after a pair of free throws from Mark Hicks (14 points) and Isaiah Howard (10 points).
Bakersfield had an answer, though, as Damian Robinson put the Renegades up, 75-73, with six seconds to go with a layup.
Conroy Lester finished with a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds for Bakersfield. The Vaqueros also received 14 points from St. Francis High graduate Emerson Castaneda and 10 from Mike Johnson.
The Vaqueros opened the game strong, behind a 10-point first half from Castaneda. They took a 32-19 lead with 4:18 to go in the first when the freshman drained a three from the corner. Glendale kept building on the lead, as it stretched to 44-25 at the end of the half with the Vaqueros closing the frame on a 10-1 spurt before it all fell apart.