West Hills Depth, Balance Doom Cougar Women by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller January 22, 2015
Taft College made a serious second-half run but in the end depth and balance powered West Hills-Lemoore to a 75-52 Central Valley Conference victory Wednesday night.
The Cougars battled back from a 14-point halftime deficit to get within seven points in the second half but the Golden Eagles pulled away with a 20-4 run to finish it off.
“We got it down to seven and went cold,” said Cougar head coach Tyrone Taylor. “We scored just four points in the last six minutes of the game.”
After trailing 36-22 at the break the Cougars came out pressing, forced turnovers and were able to close the gap to 55-48 with 6:20 left.
“Our press worked,” Taylor said. “We got the turnovers we wanted but couldn’t score.”
Cold shooting was compounded by foul trouble. TC’s top scorers – Kennedy Kunce and Emilee Davidson – both had four fouls.
“We had foul trouble, and we got a little gassed at the end,” Taylor said, referring to his lack of depth. “We missed opportunities, but it’s tough when you have seven and they have 12.”
To keep Kunce and Davidson from fouling out he shuttled them in and out with the Hernandez twins – Mia and Mariah – in when TC was on offense and out when on defense. It kept them from fouling out but West Hills took advantage of their absence to get some easy buckets.
The Cougars shot just 28 percent from the floor on 15-of-53 shots. They missed all nine of their three-point shots while West Hills made seven from outside the arc.
Both Cougar centers – Kunce and Davidson – had trouble scoring despite getting some good looks.
Davidson scored TC’s first two baskets in the first two and a half minutes but went scoreless the rest of the half. She stormed out of the gate in the second half, scoring the Cougars’ first nine points but getting just four the rest of the way.
She led the Cougars with 19 points on 7-of-17 from the floor, sank all five of her free throws and added six rebounds.
Kunce struggled with a 4-for-12 night from the floor and missed all four of her free throws. She pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
Freshman guard Carrie Graham had one of her best outings with 17 points on 4-of-11 from the field and 9-of-16 from the line.
Angie Banks scored 10 points, had six assists, three rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot.
Synclaire Lucas and Mariah Hernandez had three rebounds apiece and Mia Hernandez two steals, an assist and a rebound.
The loss was Taft’s third in a row in the conference. The Cougars are 1-3 in the CVC and 7-11 overall heading into Saturday’s game in Fresno against the defending Rams, who are off to an uncharacteristic start – tied with West Hills for third place.
Cougars Make Just 9 Field Goals in 35-76 Loss to COS by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller January 15, 2015
To say Taft College came out sluggish in its Central Valley Conference home basketball game Wednesday against College of the Sequoias is an understatement.
It didn’t help that they were playing the top team in northern California and No. 2 in the state.
The result was a 76-35 thumping from the Giants, who made nine three-point shots – the exact number of total field goals the hopelessly outclassed Cougars managed.
“That was just an old fashioned ugly game we played,” said Cougar coach Tyrone Taylor. “We had 30 turnovers and only made nine baskets. This was by far our worst output of the year. We just couldn’t do anything.”
The Cougars will try to regroup Saturday when they travel to Reedley College (1-1 CVC, 9-9 overall) for a 6 p.m. game.
The COS game got out of hand early.
It was 6-5 Giants four and a half minutes in after Cougar guard Synclaire Lucas sank a three-pointer – the only trey Taft had and her only bucket of the game.
After that the Giants went on a 16-0 run on six straight field goals – four of them three-pointers. Hannah Ramirez, who finished as the game’s leading scorer with 17 points, scored 11 of the 16. Three of her field goals were three-pointers.
That run guided the Giants to a 35-11 lead at halftime.
COS opened the second half with an 11-3 run, followed by a 13-3 Cougar spree that narrowed the lead to 51-29 with 9:26 left after Carrie Graham’s three-point play.
The wheels came off the Cougar wagon after that as the Giants scored 17 straight points to go up by 39 (68-29).
Kennedy Kunce, who scored 25 in last Saturday’s win over Porterville, led the Cougars again with 14 points. Graham finished with 10 points.
Emilee Davidson, who scored 21 points and grabbed 15 rebounds against Porterville, struggled with just four points.
While the Cougars had just nine field goals, the Giants had 31. Fortunately the Giants committed 22 fouls that sent the Cougars to the line for a 16-of-30 night, well below their average of 64 percent. By contrast, COS was 5-of-6 from the line.
The Giants showed why they are one of the best teams in the state with their quickness and speed. Many of TC’s 30 turnovers were forced by the Giants’ aggressive defense.
COS, which improved to 3-0 in the conference and 18-3 overall, had four players in double figures. Five players hit three-pointers.
“All we can do now is get ready for Saturday and have a better showing,” Taylor said.
The next home game for TC (1-1 CVC, 7-9 overall) is next Wednesday when West Hills-Lemoore comes to town.
Cougas Open Conference Hoop Season at Home by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller January 5, 2015
After winning six of their last seven games, the Taft College women’s basketball team faces a hefty challenge as the Cougars open Central Valley Conference play with home games Wednesday and Saturday.
The Cougars, coming off a 59-50 victory over Victor Valley last Saturday in the final pre-conference tune-up, have a tough assignment Wednesday when College of the Sequoias comes to town for a 6 p.m. tipoff in the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center.
COS is the hottest conference team heading into the league season with a 15-3 record.
Taft enters the conference grind 6-8. The Cougars started the season 0-7 but have won six of their last seven.
On Saturday the Cougars will host West Hills-Lemoore. The Golden Eagles also are off to a good start, finishing the preconference grind with an 11-4 record.
In Saturday’s win over Victor Valley (2-14) sophomore center Emilee Davidson carried the bulk of the load, scoring 30 points and pulling down 16 rebounds.
The 6-2 post from Copper Hills (Utah) High School was 11-of-22 from the floor and sank all eight of her free throws. She did most of her damage in the paint both from a scoring standpoint as well as rebounds with 10 offensive boards.
Kennedy Kunce, the other Cougar post, scored 17 points. The Taft High product was 5-of-12 from the field and dropped in seven of her 10 free throws.
Synclaire Lucas had 8 points and 6 rebounds, Carrie Graham scored four points and had three rebounds, two steals and an assist, Angie Banks had five assists, three rebounds and two steals, and Mia Hernandez came off the bench to get four rebounds and two steals.
The Cougars shot nearly 37 percent on 21-of-57 from the field and, thanks to Davidson’s perfect night at the line, were 15-of-20 for 75 percent.
TC Women's Basketball Wins 3rd in a Row by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller December 6, 2014
COMPTON – Kennedy Kunce and Carrie Graham provided the spark as Taft College held off El Camino-Compton Center here Saturday afternoon for the Cougars third straight victory.
Sophomore center Kunce, a Taft High product, and freshman guard Graham each scored 18 points to lead TC’s 68-63 victory. Kunce also pulled down 12 rebounds.
“Kennedy has been a real key for us, especially when we were down to seven players because of injuries,” said head coach Tyrone Taylor. “She’s been playing well.”
The 5-foot-10 center sank 5-of-10 shots from the field but was especially effective at the free throw line where she made 8-of-11 to lead the Cougars to a 20-of-26 team effort.
That was the difference maker because El Camino-Compton managed just 10-of-23 from the charity stripe.
Kunce and 6-foot-2 Emilee Davidson have been the catalyst for the Cougars’ three-game winning streak.
“We try to get the ball to them as much as we can,” Taylor said.
Davidson scored 10 points and had seven rebounds.
The Cougars won two games in the Ventura tournament to capture the consolation title and set up the three-game streak.
“Winning the consolation title at Ventura was a big confidence booster for us,” Taylor said.
TC’s 0-7 start included playing some of the top teams in the state and three games without starters Angie Banks and Chantia Jones.
Banks scored nine points and had 12 rebounds in Saturday’s win at Compton and Jones scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds.
“Things are pretty difficult for us when we have just seven players,” Taylor said.
Synclaire Lucas had scored four points and had six rebounds as Taft out-boarded the Tartars 49-33.
The Cougars started out cold while the Tartars jumped out 6-0. Taft’s first points came on a Kunce jumper five and a half minutes into the game.
TC’s first lead (19-18) came at 6:30 on a layup by Kunce.
It was tied at 21 before Graham’s layup with 4:40 left in the half gave the Cougars the lead for good.
It was 33-28 at the half.
The Cougars came out hot after the break with Graham and Lucas hitting back-to-back three-pointers and Kunce a layup for a 13-point lead.
The Tartars, still looking for their first win in six starts, drew close on several occasions but were never able to reel the Cougars back in.
TC will try to extend the winning streak at next weekend’s tournament hosted by San Diego City College.
The Cougars open with Glendale College (2-6) Friday at 4 p.m. and will play either L.A. Southwest (3-4) or Mira Costa (1-5) on Saturday.
Other tourney teams are Imperial Valley (0-5), Victory Valley (2-7), S.D. City (1-4) and Central Wyoming.
Cougar Women Win Consolation Title by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller November 28, 2014
VENTURA – After starting the season 0-and-7 the Taft College women’s basketball team scrapped back to win the consolation championship at the Ventura Tournament of Champions last weekend.
The Cougars lost an opening round game to host Ventura by a score of 66-39. Ventura lost a one-point heartbreaker to Mt. San Antonio in the championship game.
After that opening round loss on Friday the Cougars bounced back to defeat Contra Costa 65-59 on Saturday and then downed Laney 51-47 on Sunday to claim the consolation crown.
Details on all three games were not made available.
The Cougars hope to extend their short win streak this Saturday when they travel south again to play Compton Community Education Center, a team that has gotten off to an 0-and-5 start.
TC will play in the Dec. 12-14 San Diego City College Tournament before getting their first home game of the season after the Christmas break when Victor Valley College comes to the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center on Jan. 3.
At this point in the season College of the Sequoias looks like the team to beat after getting off to an 8-1 start. Porterville and West Hills-Lemoore are 4-2, defending champion Fresno 2-1, Reedley 2-4, Taft 2-7 and Merced 1-5.
BC Defense Smothers Cougar Womens Hoop Team by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller November 22, 2014
BAKERSFIELD – Bakersfield College’s suffocating defense forced 42 turnovers and the Renegades cruised past Taft College 77-44 here last Saturday afternoon in a non-conference women’s basketball game.
It kept BC undefeated at 5-0 and Taft winless at 0-6.
The Cougars will try to get on the winning track today in the Ventura Tournament of Champions but the task will be a difficult one.
TC gets to play the host Pirates, year-in and year-out one of the top teams in southern California. The tournament runs through Sunday.
Taft’s two sophomore centers had strong outings against Bakersfield.
Emilee Davidson led the team in scoring with 14 points and rebounds with 18 (13 defensive and 5 offensive).
Kennedy Kunce scored 13 points and had 11 rebounds (6 defensive and 5 offensve.)
No other Cougar scored in double figures.
Freshman guard Carrie Graham had eight points and two assists, Synclaire Lucas scored seven points and had eight rebounds and Mariah Hernandez had two points and two assists.
BC utilizes a swarming press that forced the Cougars into 42 turnovers. By contrast, the Renegades had just 15 turnovers.
To make matters worse for the Cougars they had their coldest shooting night of the young season, making just 25 percent of their field goal tries (14 of 56).
They did better from the free throw line, making 13 of 21 for 62 percent.
Bakersfield took 31 more shots than the Cougars to finish the day with 32 percent from the field.
Cougars Succumb to Hot-Shooting Hancock by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller November 19, 2014
SANTA MARIA – Allan Hancock College had a sizzling first half shooting touch Wednesday night that created a hole Taft College couldn’t climb out of despite a solid Cougar shooting effort in the second half.
The result was a 72-54 Bulldog win in a non-conference game that kept the Cougars winless in five tries.
Guard Ali Rodriguez paced the Bulldog’s shooting exhibition with 27 points on 10-of-15 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the free throw line.
The Bulldogs shot 53 percent in the first half and cooled off a bit in the second half with a 40 percent effort.
The Cougars, meanwhile, were cold. They shot just 22 percent in the first half and that, combined with Hancock’s hot hand led to a 45-20 lead at the popcorn break.
The Cougars picked up the pace in the second half, shooting 52 percent but couldn’t dig themselves out of the first half hole.
For the game the Cougars shot 36.5 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the free throw line. Hancock’s marks were 47.4 percent and 68 percent respectively.
Centers Emilee Davidson and Kennedy Kunce led the Cougar offense with 14 points apiece and combined for 18 rebounds – Davidson with 11 and Kunce with 8.
Davidson was 5-of-10 from the field and 2-of-3 from the line while Kunce was 5-of-8 and 4-of-6 respectively.
Freshman guard Carrie Graham scored 10 points on 4-of-11 from the field and 2-of-4 from the line.
Other Cougar scorers: Synclaire Lucas 6 points and 4 rebounds, Chantia Jones 6 points and a blocked shot, Mariah Hernandez 3 points, 2 steals and 2 assists, and Mia Hernandez one point, 2 assists and a steal.
Cougars Victimized by Bad Halves in Tournament by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller November 17, 2014
PASADENA – It was a tale of two bad halves for the Taft College women’s basketball team in the Pasadena City College tournament.
In the opening round Friday afternoon, the Cougars were matched up with the host PCC Lancers who came out on fire, racing out to a 55-23 halftime lead and never looking back. The pace slowed a little in the second half but the final score was 85-45.
Pasadena is No. 4 in the preseason southern California rankings.
On Saturday, in a losers bracket game, the Cougars played Citrus College even over the first 20 minutes before tiring in the second half and losing 56-43.
The double loss keeps the Cougars winless in four outings headed into another tournament this weekend where they will be matched up with another southern California powerhouse.
TC will play the host school Friday in the first round of the Ventura Tournament of Champions.
Ventura is ranked second in the southern California preseason ratings.
Against Pasadena, Angie Banks was the top Cougar scorer with 12 points to go with her six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
Freshman guard Carrie Graham had 11 points and four rebounds.
Synclaire Lucas had eight points and eight rebounds, Emilee Davidson six points and six rebounds, and Chantia Jones, Kennedy Kunce and Mariah Hernandez two points each.
Kunce pulled down five rebounds and Ashley Guardado four rebounds.
Pasadena had four players in double figures and out-rebounded the Cougars 58-37.
Kunce came alive in the Citrus game.
The sophomore from Taft High led the team with 18 points and 16 rebounds. She also had two assists and two steals.
Graham was in double figures again with 10 points, Emilee Davidson scored five points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and Lucas had eight points.
The first half was a close battle with Citrus leading by a point (20-19) at the break.
Citrus kicked its offense into high gear in the second half, outpointing the Cougars 36-20.
College of the Sequoias, a member of the Central Valley Conference, won the tournament with Pasadena taking the consolation title.
COS leads the CVC in non-conference action with a 5-1 record, followed by defending champion Fresno and Porterville, both at 2-1. West Hills-Lemoore is 1-1, Merced 1-4 and Reedley and Taft both 0-4.
Cougar Women's Basketball will Launch Season Today by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller November 7, 2014
Taft College women’s basketball coach Tyrone Taylor is looking for his 2014-15 version to run more this year to compensate for a lack of size.
Taylor has two returnees with size – 6-foot-2 Emilee Davidson and former Taft High standout Kennedy Kunce, who is 5-10.
“Both of them had a number of double-doubles last year,” Taylor said.
But the rest of the 10-player squad doesn’t have that kind of size. The next tallest player are starting point guard Angie Banks and guard-forward Synclaire Lucas.
Both are 5-foot-8 sophomores who played a lot of minutes last season.
“Angie was our leading rebounder last year,” Taylor said. “We’ll be looking for both of them to provide a good measure of sophomore leadership.”
Davidson and Kunce will alternate in the post position although there will be times when both are on the court at the same time.
That quartet of returners provides the nucleus for the Cougars this year as they open the season today at Bakersfield College at 2 p.m. against a Renegade team that is expected to be a title contender.
“They are all in good condition and know what to expect,” Taylor said of his sophomores. “They know what they’re supposed to do.”
Tomorrow the Cougars will return to the BC gym for a game against Rio Hondo at 3 p.m.
The Cougars will be road warriors the first two months of the campaign, playing in three tournaments along with three more single games. The home opener is Jan. 3 when the Cougars host Victor Valley College.
“We’ve got some pretty tough games this year,” Taylor said. The Cougars will be matched up against some of the state’s top teams in their tournaments.
Taylor is looking to a pair of newcomers to provide some speed and spark.
Carrie Graham, a 5-7 guard from Mississippi and Chantia Jones, a 5-6 guard from Nevada, will be key players in the Cougar running game.
“They both shoot well,” Taylor said. “We plan to do more running this year, moving the ball up and down the court.”
Other newcomers include Katelynn Webb, a 5-4 guard from Independence High in Bakersfield, Mariah and Mia Hernandez, both 5-5 guards, from Shafter High, and Ashley Guardado, a 5-6 guard from Rancho Verde.
Today and Saturday vs. BC and Rio Hondo at Bakersfield; Nov. 14-16 Pasadena Tournament, Nov. 19 at Allan Hancock, Nov. 22 at Bakersfield, Nov. 28-30 Ventura Tournament of Champions, Dec. 6 at Compton, Dec. 12-14 San Diego City College tournament, Jan. 3 Victor Valley, Jan. 7 Sequoias, Jan. 10 West Hills, Jan. 14 at Reedley, Jan. 17 at Merced, Jan. 21 Porterville, Jan. 24 Fresno, Jan. 31 at Sequoias, Feb. 4 at West Hills-Lemoore, Feb. 7 Reedley, Feb. 11 Merced, Feb. 14 at Porterville, Feb. 18 at Fresno.