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By Mateo Lopez, Feb. 15, 2022

On Feb. 5, the Broncos suffered a 65-61 loss in a close game against the Stanislaus State Warriors at the Ed & Bertha Fitzpatrick Arena. The defeat puts the Broncos record at 4-8 in conference play and tied seventh place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association standings.

Both teams entered the game ranked within the top five CCAA defenses. With less than a month before the regular season wraps up, the Broncos are competing for a playoff spot in the newly formatted six-team conference tournament.

Head Coach Gregory Kamansky expressed his thoughts before the game. “We want to win the game; it’s a huge game for us to get back into the playoffs and just expect our guys to compete physically,” he said. “Stanislaus is one of the best defensive teams in the conference. They’re a very physical team so it will be a challenge for us.”

According to CCAA statistics, the Warriors rank No.1 in scoring defense with the Broncos ranked No. 4. Both teams struggled in shooting early, going scoreless for the first four minutes. Later, the Broncos went on a 10-0 scoring drive led by guard Phoenix Shackelford and guard/forward Tavian Henderson to cut their deficit to 24-26 to close the first half.

“The key is going to be the physicality of the game and trying to get in the paint offensively and spreading the court,” said Kamansky before the game. “We got to hit some jumpers because they pack it in a lot.”

The Broncos outscored the Warriors in points off turnovers, bench points, points in the paint and second chance points in the game, almost doubling their point total from the first half.

Shackelford, who leads the team in points, expressed his feelings about the game.

“The first half we were feeling the team because they were a completely different team from the first time we played them,” he said.

Shackelford finished the game with 16 points, four rebounds and two steals, shooting 6-11 from the floor. Henderson finished the game with nine points and four assist while shooting 4-7 from the floor.

“We made solid adjustments in the second half that gave us a chance at winning the game,” said Shackelford. “As the season goes on, we got better on our adjusting, especially in the second half. We kind of struggled on making adjustments earlier in the year,” said Shackelford.

While the Broncos kept it close, the difference would be Stanislaus State shooting 50% from behind the three-point line.

With six games remaining and a postseason opportunity at stake, the Broncos will play their final two home games Feb. 17 and Feb. 19.

Featured photo courtesy of Lyle Ibarra.

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