BY ANTHONY MENDOLIA
Photo courtesy of COD Athletics. Coach Trent Skinner leads his guys in one of their games from the Grossmont Invitational.
After a season last year where success was quite hard to come by, the early parts of this year for COD’s men’s basketball team has been a very pleasant experience. Going into the 46th Annual SBCC Classic, which started Dec. 6, the Roadrunners are 5-3, featuring wins most recently against Rio Hondo, LA Southwest and Grossmont as they won the consolation ladder of the Grossmont Invitational Tournament.
Talking to head coach Trent Skinner in his office, he felt that his team played fairly well in this past tournament. “I thought it was a good weekend for us,” Skinner said. “Anytime you can go 2-1 in a three-day tournament, you’re winning. Obviously, we would’ve liked to go 3-0, but to bounce back after a loss and get 2 wins in a row, again I thought it was a great weekend for us.”
As for the strong start, he stated that he was not surprised at all at the way the Roadrunners have played early on. “The people on our staff and our players thought we’d start this way. I can’t speak for anyone else in the area, but the people inside our program here were actually hoping for a little bit more. We’re still hungry to keep winning and see what we can do.”
The confidence of Coach Skinner and his guys have resonated with people around the program, and the first year head coach says that has a lot to do with the bond his team has with each other.
“At this level, it’s so hard to keep people wanting to win and wanting to do what’s right for the team because they’re so worried about trying to move on and get a scholarship,” the coach explained. “For us though, I think we’re doing great at staying together, trying to make the right plays, and caring about our teammates. So hopefully, that’s something that stays in our culture throughout this season.”
By the time of the release of this month’s issue of The Chaparral, the Roadrunners will have come back from Santa Barbara has played three games against some stiff competition. Speaking to Skinner Dec. 6, the day before the first game of the tournament, he reveals that he is very excited for his team to showcase themselves a few hours west of here.
“It’s a good tournament, I think five of the eight teams that are going to be there have winning records. So we have our hands full, and we have to stay focused and see what we can do. Hopefully, we can walk away with a championship, but if not to just stay competitive and keep growing as I’ve said from the very get-go.”
After this tournament, Desert will have a few more tournaments and nonconference games before conference play tips off Jan. 18 against Palomar. Coach Skinner and his guys have already been preparing for what will surely be some excellent PCAC match ups.