Vaqueros take the win in a close game against LA Pierce College


Delaney Newhouse

Number 42, Aidan Mandel, attempts to steal the ball from an opponent on Feb. 5 at City college, Santa Barbara, Calif. Mandel is the tallest player on the basketball team, at 6’3”.

Allison Budde, Sports Editor

The City College men’s basketball team played LA Pierce College at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4 in the Sports Pavillion. The Vaquero’s were 4-4 in the conference, while LA Pierce had yet to win a game this season. 

Intense music fired out of the speakers as the City College starting lineup was announced, hyping the players and fans up for the game. As the match began the Vaqueros took a small lead, giving themselves breathing room on the scoreboard.

“I was being more aggressive this game,” freshman Tyler Williams said. “I want to allow my teammates to feed off of that.” He had eight points and one steal this game. 

With 10 minutes left in the first half, LA Pierce was applying pressure and tied up the game 18-18. City College struggled to make baskets and keep their momentum from the beginning of the match. 

Head coach and former Vaquero Devin Engebretsen stayed calm on the sidelines, calling timeouts to try and re-group the team and strategize. With just a few minutes left in the first half, the Vaqueros managed to secure the lead again changing the score to 39-36. 

“They had a few guys that caught fire today and hit shots, it’s going to happen,” Williams said.  “But we got to have guys that step up and play some defense.”

Both teams entered the second half eager to finish out the game with fresh energy. 

City College Freshman Aidan Mandel stepped up in this match with 26 points, 12 rebounds, and four clean blocks. Although individual players made their presence felt on the court, Engebretsen was displeased with the team’s performance as a whole. 

“We didn’t play very well, and part of it is that Pierce is winless,” the dedicated coach said. “Sometimes as an athlete you can overlook opponents, or play to that level. Pierce played awesome. I want to give them credit for coming out and showing up.”

LA Pierce played hard every minute of the second half, fighting to take home their first win. With less than five minutes left in the game, they tied it up once again and evened the score to 68-68. 

With nerves running through every player and fan as the timer clicked closer to zero seconds, sophomore Wilfrid Nado hit a three pointer to put the Vaqueros in the lead. The end score was 77-72, making City College 5-4.

Number 11, Wilfred Nado, dribbles the ball around an opponent on Feb. 5, 2023, at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. The game ended in a hard-won victory for City College's basketball team.
Number 11, Wilfred Nado, dribbles the ball around an opponent on Feb. 5, 2023, at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. The game ended in a hard-won victory for City College’s basketball team.

Although the Vaqueros secured the win, Engebretsen predicted the boys wouldn’t walk away feeling good about how they played. 

“They played harder than us, and we have to fix that,” he said. “We can’t have teams coming to our gym and playing harder than us.” 

With only three games left in the season, City College wants to appreciate the time they have left together and work hard, all while enjoying the journey.

“I want the guys to take pride in being a Vaquero at Santa Barbara City,” the versatile coach said. “As we wind down the stretch, it’s just about playing hard together, enjoying our time together, and having fun. And hopefully we can get a couple wins as we wrap up.”

Their next home game is against Allan Hancock at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15 in the Sports Pavillion.