The Saddleback men's basketball team had its biggest test of the 2014-15 campaign when it faced top-ranked Antelope Valley College in the semifinals of the San Bernardino Valley College Tournament. The Gauchos were up to the test, turning back the Marauders 76-63 to advance to the finals.
Saddleback was coming off a below-average performance on Friday night in the quarterfinals and knew it would take a much better effort on Saturday if it was going to hang with the talented squad from Antelope Valley. The Marauders were the top-ranked team in the Coach's Association Pre-Season Poll and had been lighting up opponents by an average of 18 points through its first four games of the season.
Whatever the motivation, Saddleback finally got back to Gaucho basketball on Saturday with a hard-nosed defensive effort. The Gauchos frustrated a program that had been averaging 87 points-per-game by forcing bad shots and outmuscling the Marauders inside.
The prize was a 13-point win over AVC that puts Saddleback in the finals of the San Bernardino Valley Tournament against the home-court Wolverines. Saddleback faced SBVC in the College of the Desert Tournament semifinals last week, hanging on for a 5-point win (83-78) after running up a double-digit lead in the opening half.
"The fellas played well and we made some adjustments after our performance on Friday," head coach Andy Ground said. "Now we have to avoid becoming overconfident, because San Bernardino is very good. The win on Saturday means nothing on Sunday if we come out and lay an egg. San Bernardino will be very tough and looking for revenge. We have our work cut out for us."
Saddleback and San Bernardino Valley are scheduled to tip off at 5:00 PM.