Analy grad Aronis helps SRJC win home opener

SRJC's Lorenzo McCloud drives by College of the Redwood's Cleveland Mitchelle during their Nov. 29, 2010 game at SRJC. (JEFF KAN LEE / PD).

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Santa Rosa JC coach Craig McMillan watched College of the Redwoods drain nine 3-pointers in the first half and could only shake his head and hope the Corsairs cooled off in the second half.

The visitors did just that and the resourceful Bear Cubs responded with an 87-63 victory in their home opener Monday night at Haehl Pavilion.

“I knew no team is capable of continuing to hit 3-pointers like Redwoods did in the first half,” McMillan said. “We did a better job defending and penetrating in the second half and that was the difference.”

While it was the first time in front of the home folks, SRJC had played in two tournaments and now has a 5-3 record.

After a 38-38 first half, the Bear Cubs scored the first seven points after intermission. Lorenzo McCloud was fouled attempting a trey and made all three free throws. Then, following a Redwoods turnover, Tim Oswald hit a lay-up and Jordan Salley followed that with a tip-in.

Redwoods never recovered. The Bear Cubs took control with 10 minutes remaining, expanding a five-point lead to a 20-point cushion with 2:40 remaining.

Kevin Aronis, who played for Analy High last year, came off the bench to score five points and believes the Bear Cubs are a team on the improve.

“We’re still trying to find a rhythm, but the ability is there,” he said. “We have a very good inside and outside presence. As we get used to playing with one another, we’ll just keep getting better.”

Aronis said the difference between high school and junior college ball is speed.

“At this level, everyone has quickness,” he said. “You have to be running on offense and quick on defense or you don’t get playing time.”

The Bear Cubs excelled at the free throw line Monday, hitting 34 of 37.

“A lot of those free throws came when we were driving in the paint,” McMillan said. “Our numbers from the line were exceptional. We were also able to do a better job on the offensive boards in the second half.”

Redwoods helped the Bear Cubs fast break by committing 14 turnover in the second half. However, losing coach Rich Mendoza said that wasn’t what cost his team the game.
“We didn’t rebound or defend in the paint,” he said. “You can’t win unless you do those two things.”

The Bear Cubs had 14 offensive rebounds in the second half.

While he thought his team played well, McMillan said the Bear Cubs need to do a lot of improving in order to contend for the Big 8 Conference title.“We have to get better to do well in league,” he said. “Hopefully, we’re on the right path.”

Lorenzo McCloud led the Bear Cubs scoring with 20, including 14-of-14 from the free throw line. The sophomore from Compton scored 29 and 27 in his previous two games.
Tim Oswald had 18, half of his points coming from beyond the arc. Sama Taku added 14.
The 6-foot-1 freshman scored a majority of his points in the second half on driving lay-ups. SRJCscored 49 after intermission.

Renell Gary was high scorer for Redwoods (3-4) with 15. Charles Benton added 13 and Eli Graham had 10.