Renegades can’t stop Trolls

By JeffGraveline

The Columbia Renegades men’s basketball team opened its season Nov. 4 on the road at Trinity Christian College.  The Renegades have a new coach and a new game plan this season, but the result of their first game remained the same as many games from last season: The Renegades were crushed by the Trolls.

After staying with the Trolls for the entire first half, the Renegades couldn’t manage the same production in the second half.  As the Trolls poured in the points after halftime, Trinity cruised to a 91-47 victory against the Renegades.

“It was a tale of two halves, like I told the guys on the chalk board. First half was a smiley face, second half was a big frown,” said first year Renegades coach Joseph Phillips.

In the first half, Renegades guard Andre Simmons, a 19-year-old audio arts and acoustics major, was dominant in the paint and on the blocks. Simmons kept the Renegades in the game with 17 points in the half. Simmons got help late in the half from guard Cleve Minter, 18, a music major, who added 10 points of his own before foul trouble forced him to the bench.

“Getting in foul trouble in the first half ain’t cool,” Minter said. “I know my team needed me and I let them down.”

The Trolls’ main offense in the first half was forward Jeremy Dykstra, who matched Simmons shot for shot on the Trolls’ end of the floor, notching 22 points of his own from down low. Dykstra added six rebounds to his point total in the first half, guiding his team to a 40-32 lead at the half.

“Going into the locker room, I told the guys that we cannot get relaxed, No. 1,” Phillips said. “We cannot come out relaxed because I knew this team was going to come out and turn it on.”

Coming out of the locker room for the second half, the Renegades sputtered offensively and never recovered, as the more experienced Trolls took advantage of costly turnovers and a tired Renegade defense.

“The second half is definitely attributed to my lack of conditioning,” Simmons said. “My wind is not there, I guess I’m not physically there. I just did the best I could, tried to keep it close in the first half.”

Trinity hit the hardwood running in the second half, going on a 24 – 3 run in the first ten minutes of the half to reach a 64 – 35 lead. From there, the Trolls continued to work their offensive sets, the boards and cause turnovers to march to an easy victory.

“In the second half, we hurt ourselves off turnovers,” Phillips said. “Points off turnovers, they outscored us 30 to 4. Anybody is going to lose a game being outscored 30 to 4. We totaled a number of 23 turnovers to their eight.”

For the game Dykstra led all scorers with 31 points and added 13 rebounds to lead his team to victory. Simmons played all 40 minutes of the game and put up 26 points and 13 rebounds for the Renegades. Minter’s 10 points in the first half capped his scoring and placed him second in total points for the Renegades.

After the loss, Phillips said his team has work to do in the gym if they want to improve.

“I told the guys to be in the gym tomorrow morning getting ready to run, because it was a tale of two halves,” Phillips said.  “That makes a difference, conditioning always makes a difference.”

For more information about games, practices and other sporting events check out the Renegades’ Facebook, Columbia College Athletics (Renegades) or Twitter @CCAthletics.