Men’s Basketball: Streak Is Over

Sam Garcia, News Editor

The streak is over.

Rio Hondo snapped it’s 13 game losing streak with a 75-70 win over Los Angeles Trade-Tech College  Feb. 13 at Rio’s basketball gym.

Sophomore guard Elijah McElroy led the charge with 25 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.  Not to be outdone, sophomore Jonathan Martinez chipped in with 23 points to go along with four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.  Not a bad day at the office for these two.

The Roadrunners were aggressive out of the gate, playing sticky coverage on defense and distributing the ball on offense. It was a tie ball game after the first half, as both teams were locked at 35 points.

The same problem that plagued the Roadrunners the last few games reared its head again: lack of benching. They played their starters nearly the entire game, aside from sophomore guard Jonathan Strachan, who was spelled by freshman Kevin Sandoval.  More than halfway through the second half, the Roadrunners looked gassed. They were down 57-48 and it seemed like nothing was going their way. Then they were down 60-51, and a sense of dread began to creep its way onto the crowd – at least for yours truly. Here we go again. But, thanks to clutch play from McElroy, Martinez, and freshman Bryant Howing, the Roadrunners fought their way to a 65-65 tie with 3:09 left in the game.

From then on, the Roadrunners took advantage of a few missed free throws and three pointer by the Tech Beavers. At that point, it would’ve tied the game at 70 with less than two minutes to play. With 15 seconds to play, the Roadrunners were up 73-70, but any chance of a comeback by LA Trade Tech was thwarted by a Yonas Gedlu foul on Jonathan Martinez. Martinez made one half of his ensuing free throws, putting Rio up 74-70 with 11 seconds left.  With four seconds, another foul by the Tech Beavers on Martinez gave Rio another free point, putting them up 75-70 and sealing the game.

At this point of the recap, let’s take a moment to celebrate the unsung hero of this game: Jonathan Strachan. He didn’t light up the scoreboard like some of his teammates –he only scored one point off a free throw– but he came in clutch on defense with seven rebounds, which was tied for the team lead with McElroy. His eight total rebounds did, however, lead the team.

Coach Steve Johnson was pleased with his team’s win.

“Felt good,” a tired Coach Johnson said after the game.

When asked about the adjustments made after half time, he said it was all about cleaning up his players’ play.

“Just keeping it simple, staying disciplined,” said Coach Johnson. “Fixing problems from the first half.”

The win brings Rio’s record to 4-21. Not only that, but it also served as the team’s first home win of the season. What a time to be a fan!

Rio Hondo will try to keep the good feelings flowing when they take on the 18-7 Chaffey College Panthers – who are on a three game winning streak and just took care of business against the Mt. San Antonio College Mounties 83-69. Tip off will take place Feb. 15 at 5 p.m. at Chaffey College.

Back to back wins, that’s all we can hope for. #keepthedreamalive