Jim Stephens has been coach of the Valley College men's basketball team for three games this season. So far, he doesn't seem to be enjoying himself.
"I've been a coach for 26 years and I just don't know what to do with this group," Stephens said after his team lost to Glendale College, 84-65, Wednesday night in a nonconference game at Glendale. "They made a ton of turnovers when we were up. They didn't do anything well tonight. I've never been so frustrated in my life."
Attribute some of that frustration to the beginning of the second half. The Monarchs entered the second half with a 44-41 lead but were outscored, 19-2, in the first six minutes.
Glendale's John Mickle sank three three-point shots and finished with a game-high 23 points. Mickle, a 6-6 sophomore forward, was a part-time starter last season.
"We were a little cold in the first half," Mickle said. "But I started taking shots in the second half and eventually got a rhythm going."
And Valley (0-3) lost any rhythm it had developed in the first half. The Monarchs had led throughout the first half behind the play of Michael Jackson, Orel Elrington and Steve Ward.
Ward, a freshman from Calabasas High, scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half. Jackson scored all 11 of his and Elrington had 12 of his 18 in the first half.
"We weren't hustling in the second half," Jackson said. "It was like we didn't want to win the game."
David Weiss, a reserve freshman, had to agree.
"We lack intensity on defense," Weiss said. "As soon as we get down by one point, you can see that the attitude is that we are going to lose."
Any attempt at a comeback was shut down by Glendale's swirling defense, which caused several key turnovers and afforded the Vaqueros easy scoring opportunities.
"I think holding them to 21 points in the second half is pretty good," Glendale Coach Brian Beauchemin said. "And they just weren't defending us. They really didn't put the pressure on us."
Valley, which held a six-point lead through most of the first half, led, 28-22, with 7:39 remaining.
Glendale (2-0) tied the score, 28-28, one minute later when two Valley turnovers were converted into baskets by Mickle and Scott Meana.
Matt Dyrek scored the tying basket after grabbing an offensive rebound.