Arabs still battling for conference title
Imperial Valley College's Kris Cook (center) breaks through defenders to score a layup against Cuyamaca College during the second half of a game Jan. 20 at IVC. (Fernando Acosta Jr.)
“It’s the most important game of the year for us,” Arabs’ coach Tyson Aye said.
The Arabs (19-6, 11-3 PCAC) would tie the Knights (18-7, 12-2 PCAC) for the conference lead with a victory.
Both teams have one PCAC game remaining after Wednesday. A co-championship would send IVC into the state playoffs as the conference’s top seed, based on two wins over the Knights. The Arabs defeated San Diego, 88-72, on Jan. 13.
“A co-championship or a championship gives us a chance to host a playoff game,” Aye said.
Imperial Valley has regrouped since dismissing 6-foot-10 center Josue Mulamba two weeks ago. The Arabs bounced back from two straight losses without Mulamba to beat Miramar, 53-45, at home and San Diego Mesa, 56-50, on the road, to keep their championship aspirations alive.
“Our adjustment period is over and we’re hitting our stride and playing our best basketball of the year,” Aye said. “Most of what we’ve done this year has been with a four-guard offense.”
Ryan Ena replaced Mulamba. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound freshman has averaged 14.7 points since becoming the starting center.
IVC also starts Brandon Newman, Melvin Cook and Travis Alexander at the guards and Darius Singletary at forward. The versatile Singletary has played both guard and forward in his two seasons at IVC. Newman leads the team in scoring at 17.8 points per game.
IVC’s women play San Diego Mesa starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday.