Corsairs Come Up Short; Lose to Bakersfield Renegades 88-94

With only two games left on their schedule, the Santa Monica Corsairs geared up against the Bakersfield Renegades in a game that would turn into a last-second affair. Despite a valiant effort, the Corsairs would lose to the Renegades by a final score of 88-84.

The Corsairs appeared overwhelmed with anxiety, but while grooving to "Wipe Me Down," by Foxx, prepped themselves for what would be their final home game of the regular season.

On the other side of the hardwood, the Renegades were plotting to spoil the night, as the returning sophomores got a special homecoming entrance for their final game.

In the first half, freshman forward Deshawn Stephens set the tone of the game by slamming down an alley-oop with authority, only to have Bakersfield steal the Corsairs' momentum minutes later.

SMC attempted to prevent the Renegades from scoring in the paint but continued to struggle, containing Bakersfield's inside game for the first half.

"We missed a lot of shots and played bad defense," said SMC sophomore guard Rodney Hudson, causing the team to get off to a slow start and put them in a large deficit.

The major shift of momentum to the Renegade's sideline caused Jenkins to call multiple strategic timeouts, slowing the game down and stopping some of the bleeding. On the offensive side of the ball, the Corsairs attempted to get their offense going, but lacked communication, leading to several turnovers.

Meanwhile the Renegades continued to put on a scoring clinic mainly due to having several open looks from the three point perimeter.

At the end of the first half the Corsairs trailed 51-35 but refused to lie down.

Stephens once again stepped up and made his presence felt in the paint by putting in a few baskets, giving the Corsairs the spark they desperately needed.

Midway through the second half, SMC trailed 76-56, but relentlessly continued to fight and claw their way back. The Corsairs began to tighten up their defense and managed to go on a late run in the second half, cutting the large deficit down to a score of just 83-81.

Despite a rough first half, the Corsairs were able make the necessary adjustments I the second half, thus putting themselves in position to keep the game close. "We put in more effort on defense and got more rebounds," said Hudson.

With the Corsairs in the midst of arguably their best comeback of the year, the home crowd began to grow louder with enthusiasm as they tried to will their team to victory.

Shortly after the Corsairs tied the game, the Renegades managed two last minute free throws due to a shooting foul, putting them up by two points.

With seven seconds left on the clock, the Corsairs missed a last second shot that would have sent the game into overtime.

With the season coming to a close this Saturday, the Corsairs look to put this loss in the past and focus on improvements for their final game. "We want to avoid having a slow start and start with some intensity like we did in the second half of the game," said Hudson.

The final game of the season will be on February 20 at Los Angeles Valley College against the Monarchs, as the Corsairs look to end the season on a high note.