The Vaqueros and the Moorpark Raiders began Wednesday night’s game with a 24-second shot clock violation and an eight-second backcourt violation as a tribute to Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday morning in a helicopter crash.
24 and eight were the two numbers Bryant wore in his career.
The Vaqueros expressed their grief over the legend’s passing after the game, which they lost 96-66.
“We were all devastated by the news,” said freshman guard Nicholas Muerzl.
Despite the heartbreak, the Vaqueros came out with a focus on controlling the tempo of the game, which they did well in the beginning.
13 minutes in, City College started to get tired and make mistakes, causing turnovers that led to points for Moorpark. The Raiders started to get a better grip on the game, and City College had a hard time keeping up.
Down by 10 points at halftime, the Vaqueros had the opportunity to compete but more mistakes in the second half combined with hot shooting by Moorpark caused the game to spiral out of control.
“Our depth is not really good, so the fatigue takes its effect,” said Head Coach Morris Hodges.
As the Vaqueros wore down, the number of turnovers increased. A total of 25 turnovers, 14 in the second half, led to 36 points and a growing lead for Moorpark.
Slow rotations and spinning heads caused the Vaqueros to lose their defensive game plan.
“Our focus was to push out and to get their good shooters off the three and we did that in the first half,” said Hodges. “Then the tempo got out of hand.”
Muerzl said he sees controlling the tempo as an area to improve for future games.
“Personally I need to be more of a leader and tell people where to be,” said Muerzl.
The Vaqueros return to the court to battle Ventura at 7 p.m on Saturday, Feb. 1 in the Sports Pavilion.