The Cosumnes River College men’s basketball season has just begun, and with three wins and three losses, they have learned a lot about themselves in a short amount of time.
The team practices every weekday. The coaching staff has been studying footage of their games and reassessing coaching strategies.
“They’re not making plays in the critical situations,” head coach James Giacomazzi said. “They’re thinking too much.”
CRC kicked off its season with the Hawks Invitational on Nov. 10-12. Despite winning the first two games, the Hawks lost in the final round against Sacramento City College because of poor free throw shooting.
In the first game of the Ed Boyle Classic at Mendocino College on Nov. 17-19, they played against the Las Positas College Hawks. CRC lost the game in overtime 79-73.
“We wound up playing some really good teams,” Giacomazzi said.
Led by Tony Gill, the Hawks defeated Siskiyous College in the second round. Gill had 29 points and shot 7-7 from the free-throw line in the 69-59 win.
The Hawks advanced to the consolation round and faced Cuesta College. Again, it was a close game and CRC was up by one at halftime. But Cuesta took the lead in the second half and won the game 85-80.
CRC was missing two of its top players during its tournament in Ukiah.
Sophomore forward J.J. Mina did not make the trip and sophomore guard Fred Mobley rolled his ankle late in the second half of the first game, Giacomazzi said.
“Other guys stepped up when we had injuries,” Giacomazzi said. Sophomore guard Tony Baldocchi was one of those guys who came into the game. He ended up shooting double digits in each game.
“There are some holes so I get in there and fill them,” Baldocchi said. “I’m a shooter. I’ll do whatever this team needs.”
He thought the team shot better in the Ed Boyle Classic than they did in the Hawks Invitational.
Giacomazzi needs the “100 percent buy-in from everyone” on his simplistic coaching philosophy and is working with his staff to bring the team “back to basics.”
“Play hard, play together, play smart,” Giacomazzi said. “They’ve got the first two down, gotta work on the playing smart. Defense, defense, react and play.”
The team had the Thanksgiving weekend off and is now back to work in preparation for its next tournament, the James Clark Classic, on Dec. 1-3, Giacomazzi said.
“Anytime we can get support from students, faculty and families it really makes a difference,” Giacomazzi said of the home-field advantage. Baldocchi is looking forward to the next tournament and the rest of the season.
“We expect to win the league championship,” he said.