This time, the Renegades simply wouldn't let the Pirates catch all the way up.
Two weeks after blowing a second half lead and falling by two points to Porterville on the road, the Bakersfield College Renegades built a double-digit advantage again, then went shot-for-shot with the Pirates for much of the second half to earn a 75-71 win Thursday night. Porterville never led.
As in the previous game against the Pirates, Tyrell Coleman led the Renegades' well-balanced offense in scoring, this time tallying 19 points. Deandre Pemberton had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, including eight offensive boards, and hard-charging guard Rahmel Davis and outside shooter Sean Fry were also in double figures for BC (4-3).
Coach Aaron Chávez credited his team for its hard work earlier in the week.
"We had a little losing streak there," he said, "but they've been phenomenal the last three practices... probably the three best practices we had all year."
The Renegades' defense was porous at times on the interior, and Porterville (6-2) got 44 points in the paint, primarily through forwards Alberto Laureano (20 points overall) and Quame Smith (14 points).
"We had some breakdowns," Chávez said. "And that's expected, but we gotta get better at it. We hold ourselves to a very high standard."
But, eight days after shooting 18 threes against De Anza, the Pirates lacked any kind of outside shooting presence and didn't make any 3-pointers until they trailed 61-50. Fry, meanwhile, had three threes, which outpaced the entire Porterville team.
One of his threes opened the game, and Pemberton added another shortly afterward to give BC an 8-2 lead. The Renegades built the margin to 10 before Smith started to wreak havoc in the paint, earning a pair of free throws, then a putback, then a layup.
Porterville eventually managed to even the game at 17 midway through the first half when Laureano finished a drive through contact and converted the ensuing free throw. Eloy Medina took back the lead for BC, but Laureano got two more free throws to tie it up again.
The Renegades led for the rest of the game, albeit not without some challenges along the way. As they tightened up their defense into the paint, they went on a 17-6 run, featuring some strong offensive rebounding that led to putbacks from Pemberton and Davis. BC got some key steals down the stretch — the team finished with 11 overall — to take a 44-31 lead into the half.
Whatever momentum they had vanished after the break — not that Porterville looked much better, with both teams turning it over repeatedly, and the Pirates accumulating four fouls in under four minutes. Medina eventually broke BC's slump with a three that put the lead back at 13. But the Pirates kept it close, as Laureano, in transition, in the post and at the line, accounted for 11 of Porterville's points in a 13-point stretch to narrow the gap to 55-48.
"We gotta get better at consecutive stops," Chávez said.
That was, however, as close as the Pirates got for a while. BC found creative ways to score: a steal from Medina led to an emphatic dunk by Tony Counts, and Coleman spun around a Porterville defender for a slick layup. The game looked just about over when Smith fouled out and a layup from Davis made it 72-60 with less than four minutes left.
BC sleepwalked its way through the end of the game, though. The Pirates got only their second three of the game, this one from Isaiah Josue (17 points), then added a free throw when Pemberton was called for an off-ball defensive foul, to make it a six-point game with under two minutes left.
But Porterville seemed reluctant to shoot threes even when the outcome depended on it. The Pirates drew closer primarily because BC shot 10-of-19 from the line in the second half, including 3-of-6 inside of two minutes. Time ran out after one final layup set the score at 75-71.
BC will play on the road in Oxnard Saturday.