The Hancock baseball team (4-1) took its first loss of the season Saturday, 8-3 to College of the Canyons at Hancock's John Osborne Field in a non-conference game.
The Hancock men's basketball squad suffered a devastating loss that night, seeing a 21-point lead against arch rival Cuesta disappear in the last 10:48 and eventually losing 74-73 at Hancock's Joe White Memorial Gymnasium on a last-second tip-in.
Not only did the Bulldogs lose the game, they may have lost power forward Kevin Kogbara for a time. Kogbara, who has given the Bulldogs significant minutes this season, went down hard late in the game and, unable to put any weight on his right leg, eventually left the game in a wheelchair.
At press time, it was not known how long Kogbara will be out. Kogbara scored 15 points and had seven rebounds before he was injured.
Meanwhile, the Hancock women cruised to a 63-34 win over Cuesta in the first half of the women's-men's Western State Conference North Division basketball doubleheader at Hancock's Joe White Memorial Stadium Saturday.
After winning four straight, the Hancock baseball squad was off to a good start in game number five. Bulldogs catcher Brayan Nunez singled home a run in the first inning, and Gavin Long plated Tommy Kendlinger with a sacrifice fly in the third.
But Hancock starter Luke Kovach, a southpaw who signed with Cal Poly before the season began, left after striking out 10 and giving up four hits and no runs in his five innings of work.
The bullpen couldn't hold the lead. Canyons left fielder Ryan Camacho hit a grand slam to left off Hancock reliever Nate Wenzel (0-1) in the fourth, and the Cougars scored three times against Lucas Earle in the eighth.
Canyons starter Tyler Biggs (1-0) worked six innings and earned the win. Biggs gave up two runs, one earned, on six hits.
Hancock center fielder Gavin Long, the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 3, continued his hot start. Long was 2-for-4 with an RBI Saturday. For the season, Long is hitting .652 (15-for-23), with three doubles, three triples and six runs batted in.
The Bulldogs went 2-1 on the week, beating Long Beach City College Tuesday and Rio Hondo Thursday at home before losing to Canyons Saturday. Hancock has another busy week ahead, with games scheduled at Long Beach at 2 p.m. Tuesday, at home against Rio Hondo at 1 p.m. Friday and at Canyons at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Quincy Bentley buried a 3-pointer to put the Bulldogs ahead 73-72 with 6.7 seconds left, but Mason Romano won the game for the Cougars, tipping in the rebound shot in the last second after an Aaron Russell miss.
Cuesta moved to 13-12, 4-5. Hancock is 16-8, 6-2. The Bulldogs missed a chance to move into first place ahead of Ventura (19-6, 7-2).
Taevon Pierre-Louis made Hancock's margin 59-38 when he took a Caleb Whalen pass and made a layup at the 10:48 mark of the second half.
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After that, the Cougars did a lot of things right and the Bulldogs did a lot of things wrong. Cuesta kept hitting its 3-point shots, and the Cougars took care of the ball. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs didn't get out fast enough on the Cuesta 3-point shooters, made head-scratching shot and passing selections on offense, and missed key free throws.
The big misses included Bentley missing a technical foul shot with 25 seconds left and Cuesta up 72-70 just before Bentley made his big 3, and Bentley and Pierre-Louis both missing the front end of one-and-ones shortly before.
Cuesta went 14-for-32 on 3's and 12-for-18 on free throws to Hancock's five-for-22 and 8-for-16 respectively, and therein lay most of the reason why the Cougars won.
Drew Ardouin scored a game-high 25 points. Juani Dassie had 23 for Cuesta. Pierre-Louis led Hancock with 23 points and, with 13 rebounds, racked up another double-double in conference play. Pierre-Louis has posted a double-double in every Hancock conference game except one.
Hancock women 63, Cuesta 34
The Bulldogs (17-7, 6-2) led 29-16 at halftime and put the Cougars (9-16, 2-7) away by out-scoring Cuesta (9-16, 2-7) 17-4 in the third quarter.
Hancock held Cuesta to 18.6 percent shooting from the floor (11-for-59).
Kayla Taylor led balanced Hancock scoring with 14 points. Chloe Blankenship put in 12 points, and Giselle Calderon scored 10. Seven Bulldogs scored.
India Dowling-Green snared a game-high 11 rebounds for Hancock. Taylor had nine. Sydney Howe led Cuesta with 11 points.
Hancock will host the Moorpark women and men in a doubleheader Wednesday night on Carney's Coaches vs. Cancer Night.
The event is so named in honor of Larry Carney, a former Hancock women's assistant coach, the veteran Santa Maria girls basketball coach before then, and a cancer survivor.
The women's game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. The men's game is slated for a 7 p.m. tip off. All event sales will be designated to benefit the Mission Hope Cancer Center.
The Moorpark women lead the WSC North at 20-5, 9-0. In the first round of conference games, the Moorpark women beat Hancock 71-50 at Moorpark. The Hancock men won 65-54.
Kenny Cress is a sports reporter for the Santa Maria Times, covering local sports in northern Santa Barbara County. You can send information or story ideas to him by emailing it to KCress@SantaMariaTimes.com.