STORY BY MATT SIMON, PHOTO BY JOSEPH KLING
After making it to the second round of the CCCAA Southern California Regionals last season, the Long Beach City College men’s basketball team is poised to defend its Southern Coast Conference title this season.
The return of sophomore guard Jace Bass, the 2018-19 SCC MVP, has the Vikings (3-1) right where they left off last season.
Bass is averaging 27.8 points and hasn’t missed a beat while teams key on him defensively.
“I like that,” Bass said of the extra defensive attention. “It makes me better for the next level and I look at it as they know (about me) now and they’re doing whatever they can to stop me, so other other guys on the team will have to step up. I’ll still pick my spots on the floor to be able to score.”
Providing that extra threat behind Bass will be sophomores Aaron Jelks and Kester Ofoegbu.
Jelks was named to the All-SCC Division team last season and Ofoegbu has started the season off averaging 22 points.
“With the experience of those guys, they played a lot of minutes last season and are the only sophomores on the team,” coach Barry Barnes said. “They really are the leaders of the team.”
LBCC will also look to get a big lift from sophomore Matthew Schmidt (LB Wilson) who is with the team after spending a year at Westmont College.
“He’ll be a big key for us,” Barnes said. “He’ll be an anchor for us and provide some leadership for our guys.”
Along with Schmidt, Miles Denmion (LB Poly) will also get into the rotation.
Defensively, the Vikings have started off strong averaging 9 steals and 7 blocks per game.
“We’re a great offensive team, but we predicate winning and getting to the state championship on defense,” LBCC coach Barry Barnes said.