The Mustangs men’s basketball team’s 2011-12 season tipped off with back to back losses in the 8th Annual Jonathan Wallace classic at Ohlone College in Fremont.
The tournament took place Nov. 11-12 and gave the team a chance to test their metal against two of the better teams in the state.
The opening game produced a narrow loss to 12th ranked Cabrillo College, 51-47.
The game was deadlocked with two minutes remaining, but the Seahawks managed to pull away at the end.
Despite the loss, Head Coach Rich Ressa was encouraged by his team’s performance, especially their ability to match up defensively with Seahawks star center Justyn Searle.
“They have a kid who has signed for USF (University of San Francisco) who is 6’9 in the post, and I thought we competed with him very well. Our young freshmen posts, Mitch Postle and Jerel Green, did a good job competing with the kid and we’re excited about the potential they have,” said Ressa.
Game two saw the Mustangs suffer a thirteen point loss to 10th ranked tournament host Ohlone College.
Once again Delta was able to show enough quality to contend with a strong opponent.
However, the Renegades’ high tempo pressure defense was too much to overcome, as the Mustangs finished the game with 21 turnovers.
“We struggled a lot with Ohlone’s pressure. They’re a perennial man pressure, zone pressure team and our youth and inexperience kind of showed a little in that game,” said Ressa.
The main challenge for the Mustangs this season will indeed be integrating some of the freshmen players, who much similar to Green and Postle, will be counted on to make contributions right away.
Additionally, guard Derek Wofford will be moving from shooting guard to point guard and will have to take on more responsibilities running the offense.
Last season Wofford was employed primarily as a shooting guard.
The other returning starter from last season, forward Marcus Beaird, will be seeing more time on the perimeter at small forward, according to Ressa.
How the team handles this shuffling of parts will play a big role in any success the Mustangs’ have this season, and the team’s head coach is already saying chemistry is one of his strengths this season.
“We have a really good core group of guys who work hard and like playing together and I think the potential is there for a productive season,” said Ressa.
Dec. 16-18, Blanchard Gym
Men’s basketball will host a Holiday Tournament. San Francisco City College, Napa Valley College and others will be participating.
Dec. 19-21, Blanchard Gym
The women’s basketball team will be hosting the Jocelyn Mancebo Classic. Some of the other competing schools are Modesto Jr. College, Diablo Valley College and River Valley college.