By Rochelle Ware
The Brookhaven College Bears won a 20-point blowout game over the El Centro College Chaparrals. Naturally, the Chaparrals took offense. The Nov. 26 game’s final score was 97-77, which brings the Bears’ overall record to an impressive 9-1.
With only two days until Thanksgiving holiday, most students were already away from campus – likely focused on holiday preparations and celebrations. However, a few fans trickled into the gym as the booming bass of rap music filled the air. On one end of the court, the entire Bears team went through its pre-game warm-up routine of lay-ups, tip-drills and the occasional slam dunk. The players also mixed in a few quick crossover moves and pull-up jumpers as they prepared to face their competition. On the other end of the court were five El Centro Chaparrals.
The El Centro players’ warmup routine included healthy doses of three-point shots, layups and watchful eyes on what the opposing team was doing. Though the game was about to begin, there seemed to be no urgency to get warmed up, stretched out and ready to play. Everyone stood for the national anthem, ready for tip-off. The buzzer sounded, and the game was on. The game was uptempo through most of the first half, as the Chaparrals tried to keep up with the fast pace of the Bears. Despite heavy doses of a full-court press and an aggressive trapping defense, the score remained fairly close for most of the first half.
With seven minutes left in the half and a 6-point lead, the Bears started to take control of the game, prompting a timeout and a five-player substitution by El Centro’s coach, Michael Higgins. At the half, the Bears led by 10 points with a score of 40-30.
After the halftime break, the Bears returned to the basketball court, continuing their fast paced game with even more intensity. On defense, they swarmed the ball, stifled opponents and forced turnovers. On offense, patience and great execution led to easy scoring opportunities, and the lead swelled to 20 points only five minutes into the second half.
Frustration began to set in for El Centro as Higgins shouted at his players from the sideline to protect the ball and pick up their defense at half-court. With a 21-point lead and the Bears dominating the game, tempers started to flare. Players from both teams had to be separated.
Technical fouls were called, and a hush fell over the crowd. But the mumbling and trashtalking between the players continued, and more fouls were committed. Suddenly, as players lined up along the foul lines, a referee shouted at the players: “Shut up. You’re done talking for the rest of the night.”
With emotions through the roof, it took several minutes for players to calm down, even with a warning from Hurst for his players to stop talking and focus on the game. The Bears improved their lead to 80-56 with seven minutes left in the game, having totally controlled both ends of the court.
The final score, 97-77, did not accurately reflect the total dominance of the Bears and included a 12-2 run by the Chaparrals after Hurst began subbing out his starting lineup.
After the game, Brookhaven student and volleyball player Kelsey Rogers said: “The game was intense. They [some of the players] almost came to blows.” Bears forward Aaron Peterson said, “I was upset because I didn’t play as well as I could have, and I felt like I let my teammates down.” “For 37 minutes, we played really good defense,” Hurst said. “I was really disappointed with the 12-2 run. In all honesty, I wish my team would have kept their composure.” Despite tensions running high between the players of each team, the game proved a great win for the Bears