The Yuba College basketball team is setting a higher standard for teams to come. Since Coach Doug Cornelius took over the program in 2001, his basketball team has broken four of five Yuba College records. This year’s team may be on its way to becoming one of the best teams in the history of Yuba College.
With Coach Cornelius’ history, anything is possible. He has been an assistant coach at American River College, made the WNBA Western Conference finals two of three years with the Monarchs, video coordinated with the Sacramento Kings for two years and coached in the Sacramento Pro Am League for five years.
For the past six seasons Coach Cornelius has been instructing the 49’ers, and has set them on the right track. It is evident by their record of 24-7 non-conference, and 14-1 conference, which has the team sitting in first place, followed by Merritt College.
On a scale from 1 to 10 Coach Cornelius ranks the team high. “We have lost a couple of games we shouldn’t have lost,” Cornelius said. “We’re playing like a 9 but I’d say the overall season is like an 8 and a half.”
The team’s biggest advantage is their depth. With a roster of 11 guys, all are good enough to be starters at other colleges. Out of these 11, all three sophomores have signed full ride scholarships with Div. 1 universities. Aaron Garner, no. 12, has signed up with Boise State; Demetrius Young, no. 21, signed with Marshal; and Mareceo Rutledge, no. 3, has signed with UNLV. Rutledge has also been nominated an “All-American” player, nominated as one of the top 10 Community College basketball players in the U.S.
The game against Solano on January 31 ended with a win. The 49ers dominated their opponent after the first half, leading to victory by 20 pts (86-66). However, in the final seconds of the game Vaughn Canta, no. 33, twisted his ankle after he dunked a ball. After lying in pain on the floor, Canta hobbled away with a bad sprain and will be out for about 3 weeks. Hopefully he will return in time for playoffs.
Wednesday February 7 Yuba beat Mendocino College 98-73. Yuba was driving hard before half up through the remaining of the game. Yuba used a 9-1 run with fewer than two minutes to play to salt the game away.
Friday February 10 Yuba’s fourteenth win was paid with the title of Bay Valley Conference Champions. Yuba College outscored Merritt College 83-72. It was a close game up until the last three minutes when Yuba used a 6-0 run and made key free throws down the stretch to close it out. 49’ers hit 17 of 20 free throws.
Regional playoffs will be held on February 23.