The Roadrunners hosted Copper Mountain, Glendale (AZ), West LA, Compton, Grossmont, Saddleback and fellow Pacific Coast Athletic Conference-North Division opponent San Bernardino Valley. The tournament featured a high powered finale on Saturday afternoon, where San Bernardino Valley defeated Copper Mountain. The Saddleback Gauchos and the West Los Angeles Wildcats met up in the Third Place Championship, with the Gauchos taking home the title in that contest. In the Consolation Championship, Glendale (AZ) knocked off the Grossmont Griffins to claim that plaque.
Notably, Desert sophomore guard Weijie "Kevin" Zhang (Carlsbad Army-Navy) was presented with the Frank Garcia Award, which is an honor to the College of the Desert sophomore player which exemplifies dedication and commitment to the Roadrunners Men's Basketball program and outstanding achievement on the court and in the classroom.
The Roadrunners opened up the Garcia Classic with a game against the West Los Angeles Wildcats (1-0). Desert took an eight point lead at the half 35-27, but a strong second half by the Wildcats, put Desert in a pickle, with the home side falling, 77-66.
Desert received some great performances from sophomore guard Philippe Salawa (Fontana Azariel Blanchard Miller), sophomore guard Shaquille Russell (Reseda Cleveland) and freshman forward Arion Stevenson (Moreno Valley Canyon Springs). All three were in double figures as Salawa led the team with 12 points, on 5 of 15 shooting and going 2 for 6 from the free throw line. Russell contributed 11 points on 3 of 10 shooting and going 3 of 8 from the charity stripe and Stevenson came off of the bench to add 11 points on 5 of 14 shooting, leading the team in steals (4) and rebounds (6).
Freshman starting forward Joseph Fowler (Rohnert Park Rancho Cotate) added six boards, to tie for the team lead, and freshman guard Andre Allen (Chino Don Lugo) led the team with four assists in the opener.
On the consolation side of the bracket, Desert faced off with the Griffins of Grossmont College (1-1). In the first half the team struggled, falling behind by 20 points 51-31 at the break, then had a more promising second half, scoring 40 points and almost getting there in the end, but falling, 96-71.
Stevenson came off the bench to lead the team in scoring and was deadly from beyond the arc, putting up 17 points on 3 of 6 shooting and Salawa led the team in blocks (4), while scoring 11 points, on 4 of 6 shooting with a perfect 4 of 4 from inside the arc. Freshman forward Sylvester Franklin (Palm Springs H.S.) and Allen contributed 10 points. Franklin was 4 of 6 from the field, going a perfect 2 for 2 from beyond the arc, while Allen shot 4 of 5 from the field and was 2 for 3 from three-point range, with a steal on the afternoon. Fowler led the team with 5 boards.
Photo by Britney Vargas and story by Ashtyn Lyneis (COD Sports Information)
Information, Photos & Story provided by COD Sports Information.