Article, 2007-2008 Season - Ohlone College Renegades Men's Basketball

Ohlone looks forward to rematch

Renegades blew late 10-point lead against Fresno City

By Steve R. Waterhouse, Staff writer.

March 8, 2008—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area.

The last time the Ohlone College men's basketball team played in Fresno, the outcome wasn't so good.

The Renegades blew a 15-point lead in the quarterfinals of the State Championships in a 71-69 loss to Antelope Valley.

But it was at Selland Arena and not at Fresno City, which will host Ohlone in a NorCal semifinal game today at 7 p.m.

That loss to Antelope Valley was only a year ago, but most of these Ohlone players can't tell you about the game. That's because this team consists of only three sophomores, who saw little-to-no-action and some of whom also see little-to-no-action on this year's team.

But this group of primarily freshmen have grown together through the season, finding out each other's niches and roles.

"It's basically a brand new team," Ohlone coach John Peterson said. "(Early) I hoped we'd be in this situation, I thought we were pretty talented, but by the end of December, I was just hoping to finish .500."

And for the Renegades to get this kind of experience in the playoffs is invaluable. Last week, No. 7 Ohlone opened with a 70-62 home win over No. 10 Cabrillo. The Renegades will bring in a 20-10 overall mark into Fresno.

Meanwhile, Fresno, which defeated Chabot 81-74 last week, will bring in a gaudy 29-7 record. One of the wins was over Ohlone in non-conference play.

In that game, Ohlone had a 10-point lead with three minutes left only to lose 76-73.

"It helps a lot," Peterson said of having faced Fresno.

"You just can't simulate the kind of pressure they put on the ball. It'll be a battle of wills."

Ohlone's leading scorer is freshman guard Chancious Rose (5-foot-11), who is averaging 14.6 points per game. James Hancock (6-6 forward) is second with a 12.6 scoring clip.

But Peterson looks at Amarildo Matos (6-3 guard), a sophomore who sat out last year, as the key.

"We've been fortunate to have a different guy step up every night," Peterson said. "James has been very consistent for us, and Chancious has been consistent for the last month or so. Amarildo understands the system. He knows what I want. He's been a huge, huge plus for the last six weeks."

The winner of Saturday's game advances to the State Championships, which pits the top four teams from the north against the top four teams from the south in the Elite Eight that start March 14.

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