BY ANTHONY MENDOLIA
Photo courtesy of COD Athletics. The team’s sophomores and their families pose for a quick photo before the night’s game vs. San Diego Miramar.
While the season may have ended on a sour note, a 102-82 road loss to rival Mt. San Jacinto, it can definitely be said that this season for the COD men’s basketball team was a success. The Roadrunners finished the season with a record of 14 wins and 14 losses, posting the best record the program has had in over ten years.
Desert assured that they would at least reach the .500 mark when they beat San Diego Miramar Feb. 19 on Sophomore Night, thanks to freshman guard Sam Skipper hitting a jumper just above the foul line with 5.4 seconds left in the game, securing the 74-72 win. Speaking with Skipper the day after his huge shot, he was still on cloud nine.
“In the moment, I was thinking that I really want to win this game,” Skipper said. “I’ve got to come up with something. I made a move, got the defender off of me, and got that big game-winning shot.”
Skipper has been huge for this team all year long, as he led the team in scoring as a freshman with 17.3 points per game. He explained that this year’s success has been in the making for quite a long time.
“I’ve been working since I was four years old every day in the gym,” he said. “I’ve been putting in hours, jumping gym to gym with my stepdad when he came into my life. I’m just glad I’m here now, I’m proud of myself and proud of everybody that believed in me. I’m just really happy.”
Hitting a buzzer beater in your last home game of the season is a huge accomplishment. Being that it was also Sophomore Night, it means just that much more, according to coach Trent Skinner.
“I think it meant a lot for [the sophomores] to go out with a win,” Skinner said. “Everyone’s as excited as can be, and we’re looking forward to building on this for recruiting for years forward. We’re hoping this is just the start of it.”
Coach Skinner’s first year on the job saw some huge highlights, such as grabbing a substantial 104-86 win in their first matchup with Mt. San Jacinto, the #2 team in the state at the time, and of course this last-second victory on Sophomore Night. Needing a win to be in consideration for the CCCAA playoffs, the Roadrunners were unable to defeat Mt. San Jacinto for the second time. Despite the difficult ending, the entire COD community can surely be proud of the men’s basketball team this season.