The VC men's basketball team came up short Thursday night in their 2018-19 season opener, falling to LA Valley 80-70 on day one of the We Play Hard Tip-Off Tournament sponsored by the James Ennis Foundation at the Athletic Event Center. Sophomore Lamont Landers netted 15 points to lead the Pirates (0-1) while Tito Mendez came off the bench to score 13 second half points. Andy Resignac had five rebounds for VC.
Tone Patton's driving shot in the first minute of play was the only field goal for both teams in the first three minutes of the game, as the Pirates led 2-1 until Landers hit a 3-pointer at the 16:46 mark of the first half. Dayshone Henry hit two free throws and Timothy Turner connected on a jumper for a 9-1 VC advantage with 15:48 on the clock. Keron Bailey hit a pair of charity shots with 12:51 remaining for Ventura's largest lead, 15-6, before the Monarchs inched their way back into the game.
LAVC came back to take an 18-17 lead midway through the first half, and the game went back and forth for the next seven minutes of game time. Henry produced three buckets over that time, and Thomas Dangerfield's field goal at the 7:01 mark gave VC a 28-26 edge. Valley went on a 7-0 run over the next two minutes to take the lead for good, and despite four free throws from Landers down the stretch, the Monarchs hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to take a 39-34 lead into halftime.
Valley opened the second half on a 10-0 run, and Ventura did not score until Patton made a pair of free throws with nearly four minutes elapsed on the clock. Mendez followed that up with back-to-back buckets and the Pirates seemed to be on their way back , trailing 49-40 with 15:12 remaining. But try as they might, the Pirates could not get much closer the rest of the way, battling missed shots and turnovers along the way. Ventura got no closer than nine points the rest of the way, eventually falling by an 80-70 margin.
Henry had a solid night for Ventura with 11 first half points, but left the game early with an injury. Jacob Berry came off the bench to fill up 10 points and Turner finished with eight.
Oher scores Thursday included Riverside, coached by VC Hall of Famer Phil Matthews, defeating Antelope Valley 71-70 and Pasadena beating Moorpark 93-86 in double overtime.
The Pirates go right back it it on Friday Nov. 2 on the second day of the tournament, sponsored by VC alumnus James Ennis '11, who currently plays for the NBA's Houston Rockets. VC will play Pasadena at 5:00 pm at the AEC, following LA Valley and Riverside at 1:00 pm and Moorpark and Antelope Valley at 3:00 pm.