By Nick Vasquez, Nov. 23, 2021

The CPP men’s basketball team now holds a 3-0 overall season score after a 75-52 home win against Westcliff University on Nov. 17. With a lineup composed of three freshmen, the team is off to a strong start. 

Head Coach Greg Kamansky expressed how impressed he is with the team’s performance so far in the season, despite missing two key starters, senior guard BJ Standley and junior center Finn Eckhardt.

“It was a scary thought on paper this year because we have so many young freshmen on this team. We’re putting new guys in new roles and they’re stepping up,” Kamansky said.

The win was fueled by a significant amount of strategic plays from the Broncos. CPP started the game on an 11-2 run and started the second half on a 16-5 run.

A quick seven points were made by senior guard Phoenix Shackelford and a pair of free throws from freshmen guard Christopher Mitchell. Freshman forward Dane Erikstrup started the second half off with a pair of field goals to spark a run. 

Forward Dane Erikstrup passes the ball to a team member. (Courtesy of Mike Farrell)

Outside of a couple of slight shifts in momentum for the Westcliff Warriors, the Broncos dominated the ball from the tip off.  

Kamansky believes the Warriors’ faltering defense allowed the Broncos more opportunities to score points throughout the game.

“They played hard, give them credit, but they had big guys on defense that couldn’t move very well so we could get our shot any time we wanted,” said Kamansky. 

The Broncos employed their signature attacking style as they took 13 more shots than the Warriors, out-rebounded them 42-31 and turned the ball over 14 times. Mitchell led the team in scoring, earning 16 points while going 5-11 from the field and 6-8 from the free throw line. Shackelford followed with 15 points while going 7-12 from the field. 

Mitchell shot 2-7 from the field in the first half, yet recovered quickly in the second half with a 3-4 showing from the field. Mitchell utilized a vigorous, yet calculated approach to the game in the second half. 

“Just seeing what they give us and playing off that we get to the short corner with our bigs all the time with our second pass in the corner,” said Mitchell.

He noted that the Broncos’ big men were open on the weakside baseline during most of his drives to the basket.

Shackelford started the game on a roll, scoring seven out of the first 11 points for the Broncos. Shackelford explained how he was able to take advantage of the Warriors defensive miscues early in the game.

“They were sagging a little bit, so I just tried to take advantage as much as I could,” said Shackelford.

Shackelford mentioned sagging in reference to the defense playing off him in fear of him driving to the basket, which meant that he had space to shoot open jump shots. 

Phoenix Shackelford leaps for a two-handed jam early in the second half. (Courtesy of Mike Farrell)

As the Broncos displayed an increasingly aggressive play strategy throughout the game, they scored five three-pointers in the second half after going 1-10 in the first half. They shot 55% from the two-point range. 

Shackelford commented on this strategy, which was emphasized by Kamansky in his halftime speech.

“In the second half we tried to take good shots, be efficient and stay aggressive,” said Shackelford. “The main focus was to stay aggressive.”

The Broncos start off CCAA play this week with a game at Cal State San Bernardino on Nov. 27. The CSUSB Coyotes are currently 3-0 as well and the game is shaping up to be an enticing start to league play.

To watch the CPP men’s basketball team compete via livestream, visit the CCAA network website.

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