While the season has ended up falling well below expectations, the men’s basketball team has been steadily improving.
The team came into this season with half a roster composed of freshmen. That inexperience reflects in the team’s 4-17 record.
Head coach Rich Ressa has faced the task of keeping his team focused amid adversity, but remains encouraged.
“Our guys are very prideful and we’re going to represent what we do and how we do it all the way till the end. I’m proud of our guys for doing that and they’re doing a great job,” said Ressa.
Despite a disappointing record, the Mustangs have managed to remain competitive in many games while going up against strong teams.
In a Dec. 20 conference game at 6th ranked Santa Rosa, the Mustangs played one of the team’s best games of the season and held a lead against one of the best teams in the state late in the second half, but fell short 58-54 at the end.
Sophomore guard Derek Wofford led the Mustangs with 20 points and 12 rebounds, and shot 60 percent from the floor.
Wofford has been averaging a team leading 14 points per game while shooting 58 percent from the floor.
Wofford’s contributions run deeper than his numbers, as he has provided leadership and a stabilizing influence for a young team.
“The way I lead the team is by action. Since I’m a sophomore and we have a lot of freshmen I’d rather just show them as far as playing defense, running up and down the court, practicing hard, I just try to do what I can to lead by example,” said Wofford.
The season has been a learning experience for the freshman class.
Forwards Jerel Green and Mitch Postle have the makings of a solid front line, and guard Ryan Gaarder has given a boost to the offense averaging 10 points per game.
In recent games, the men’s team beat Modesto Junior College on Feb. 3 at home 91-82 and lost to Sierra College in Rocklin 58-56.