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Central Coast Classic: Hancock made playoff run despite only having six players
Central Coast Classic

Central Coast Classic: Hancock made playoff run despite only having six players

Hancock College’s version of the fab six earned a spot in the 2020 postseason.

The Hancock women’s basketball team carried six players most of the season. The Bulldogs still made it to the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern California women’s basketball regional.

Veteran Hancock women’s basketball coach Cary Nerelli coached for decades at Morro Bay before coming to Hancock.

“I’ve had small rosters before,” Nerelli said a day before his team’s first round game at Long Beach City College earlier this year. “But nothing like this.”

The Bulldogs actually had five players during one game. Point guard Aryanna Gonzales was out for that one with an injured ankle.

Hancock’s regular starting five that season included Gonzales, Sarah Gudeman, Jayci Bayne, Alijah Paquet and Milan McGary. Kelsi Prado was Hancock’s sixth player.

Gudeman and McGary often played the full 40 minutes in a game. The other Bulldog starters often logged close to the full 40.

Prado averaged 28 minutes.

The Bulldogs’ collective attitude during all this seemed to be, “You have to do what you have to do.”

In fact, when it came to playing 40 minutes, healthy or not, “Hey, we just have to do it, right?,” said Gudeman.

Gudeman was wearing a walking boot as she spoke. “I have a sprained ankle,” she said.

She said she would play the next night. Gonzales played several games during the second half of the season on an ankle that wasn’t 100 percent.

Both of them played the next evening, and the Bulldogs (13-15 at the time) scored a 70-66 upset over 20-8 Long Beach.

Gonzales scored nine points and racked up seven assists. Gudeman snared six rebounds.

Bayne tossed in 24 points. McGary put in 16 and Paquet scored 15. The Bulldogs made 15 free throws to the Vikings’ four.

Hancock ended the 12-game Long Beach winning streak. Ventura rallied in the second half to beat Hancock in the next round.

Bayne, Paquet, McGary and Gonzales were consistent double figures scorers for the Bulldogs that season.

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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