Cabrillo College freshmen Darius Best, right, and Solomon Tucker helped the Seahawks men's basketball team to a 2-1 record at the Saltwater Classic Tournament in Aptos. (G.P. Scheppler/special to The Pajaronian)

APTOS — The Cabrillo College men’s basketball team hosted the Saltwater Classic Tournament this past weekend which featured teams from as far up north as Folsom.

The Seahawks (6-3) finished with a 2-1 record in the tourney including a 100-83 win against Butte College in the teams’ opener on Nov. 2.

Coming off their second loss of the season, Cabrillo was eager to start the tournament with a statement win. They did it in dominant fashion by tallying 100 points for the first time this season.

“We were able to get up and down and make some shots,” said Cabrillo head coach James Page. “We got fortunate that the ball went in a few more times than normal.”

The game was back-and-forth throughout the first half, but the Seahawks were able to pull away because of their ability to score at will.

Sophomore guard Joe Rush, who is averaging 15.7 points per game along with 3.3 steals, finished with 19 points and four steals on Friday night.

“We were just trying to focus and key in on the things we need to do,” Rush said. “We take care of the ball, play hard, execute, and we’ve got to get our shooters the ball.”

Freshman forward Solomon Tucker scored a team-best 23 points for the Seahawks in Saturday’s 96-78 win over Merced in their second game at the Saltwater Classic. 

On Sunday, Tucker and fellow freshman teammate Darius Best each scored 14 points for Cabrillo in its 84-81 loss to Columbia on Day-3 of the tourney.

Throughout the season, Cabrillo has established themselves as a dominant team in the California Community College Athletic Association. They are averaging 83.2 points per game while only allowing 72.5. 

Both of Cabrillo’s losses this season have been within eight points. However, they’ve been able to trounce on other teams including a pair of 35-point wins over Napa Valley and American River.

“I’ve got a really young group, it just takes some time when you’re playing a lot of freshmen,” Page said. “We’re missing two major pieces that aren’t quite ready yet. Hopefully by the time league comes around, if they are, I think we’re as good as anybody.”

These two major pieces include sophomore forward Marco Beverly and sophomore guard Cameron Noel.

This season, 10 of the 13 players on the roster are freshmen including guard Darius Best. 

The Charlotte, N.C. native is averaging a team-best 19.7 points per game and shooting extremely efficiently.

One struggle Cabrillo has faced this season is shooting from beyond the arc, making just 29.4% of 3-point shot attempts. 

The young Seahawks squad is still waiting on several key players to return, yet they’ve already proved themselves as a force to be reckoned with this season.

“It takes being a leader,” Rush said. “You’ve got to be a leader and show the younger guys how it’s done. Just really let the guys know that I’m with them so they can have my back, and we can have each other’s backs.”

The Seahawks are now 6-2 after losing its first game of the season against San Joaquin Delta 80-72.

“As a team we played very well. We’ve got people who knocked down shots who weren’t very hot coming into the game,” Rush said.

The Seahawks coaching staff and players alike are witnessing the manifestation of talent they have and work they’ve put in. 

As a unit, they feel confident moving forward that they can continue the success they’ve had.

“It’s the pace and way we’ve been hoping to play throughout the year, we are finally starting to put things together,” Page said. “I just hope that we can get a little bit better every day. If we can do that throughout the course of the year, I think we’ll put ourselves in a good position.”

The Seahawks will play at Merced (3-7) in a non-conference rematch on Dec. 8 at 5pm.

“Be poised and take it one day at a time,” Rush said. “Don’t really think too much in the future. Do what we do, make teams adjust to us. That’s what our game plan should be for now.”

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