The Hancock College men's basketball team will start its defense of its own tournament championship Thursday.

The Bulldogs (8-5) will play Chabot (1-11) at 5 p.m. in a Holiday Classic first-round game at Hancock's Joe White Memorial Gymnasium.

Tickets will be available at the door. Prices are $7 for adults, and $4 for children and seniors. Hancock students and staff will be admitted free.

Hancock beat Palomar 66-62 last year for the program's 15th championship in the tourney's 52-year history.

In other first-round games Thursday, Cuesta will face Bakersfield at 1 p.m., San Jose City College will go against Palomar at 3 p.m., and Merritt will play Los Angeles Southwest at 7 p.m.

Bakersfield (6-4) is ranked 15th in the state. Former Hancock coach Rich Hughes is the Renegades' veteran coach.

The Bulldogs have won two straight and four of their last six. Sophomore guard Shane Carney leads the team in scoring at 16.2 points a game. He is seventh in the state in assists at 5.5 a game.

Freshman guard Glenn Jordan is second on the Hancock team in scoring at 10.1 points a game. Spirit Ricks is third at 9.8 points a game. The Bulldogs are shooting 39.7 percent from 3-point range, third best in the state.

Hancock guard Diego Lucas is eighth in the state in 3-point accuracy, 52.4 percent.

Chabot will try to snap a six-game losing streak. Jordan Gilmete leads the Gladiators in scoring at 12.6 points a game. Levy Deplush averages nearly six rebounds a game for Chabot.

Bakersfield has won four of its last five. The Renegades average a healthy 84.1 points a game, 13th-best in the state. Bakersfield's Jamar Hammonds is the state's 10th-leading scorer, at 21.2 points a game. He also averages 8.6 rebounds a game.

Jonathan Murray is tied for the state lead in assists, at 6.3 a game. Henry Galinato averages nine points and 9.6 rebounds a game.

Cuesta (7-8) has been almost as accurate as Hancock from three-point range. The Cougars are shooting 38.9 percent from there, sixth best in the state. Cuesta averages nearly 11 3-point baskets a game.

Sophomore guard Noah Saunders leads the Cougars at 17.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Josh Wilson-Murry averages 12.2 points a game and is shooting 39.2 percent from 3-point range.

Palomar is 8-5. Jackson Strong (20.5 points a game), LaVale Coleman-Bell (17;3 points a game) and Matt Meyers (16.9 points a game) all average in double figures for the Comets.

Southwestern (6-7) has four players who average double figures scoring per game. D'Lano Beckles leads the Jaguars at 16 points a game. Isaiah Hawk pulls down rebounds at a 7.6 per game clip.

Isaiah Davis, at 51 percent, and Deon Steward, at 58.6 percent, are both shooting over 50 percent from the floor for Merritt (4-7). Davis averages 14.4 points a game. Steward averages 11.7. Steward pulls down an average of 7.1 rebounds a game.

San Jose City College is 3-8 and has lost three straight. Jonell Burton leads the Jaguars at 14.9 points a game. Kameron Vales is averaging 12.1 points a game and Kobe Foster is at 10.7.

The Jaguars will shoot for their third tournament title and first since 1976.    

Hancock College Sports Information Director Andrew Masuda contributed to this report.

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Sports Reporter