55 Years of Ravens Basketball Ends With Loss to Tyler, 65-64


Courtesy of Jeannie Peng Mansyur/SJC Marketing, Public Relations and Government Affairs Department

Assistant Coach Albert Talley Jr. (back row, far left) and Head Coach Scott Gernander (back row, far right) are pictured here with the 2017-2018 San Jacinto College Men’s Basketball team. Both Gernander and Talley will remain with the College in different positions.

Decades of history and an emotional last season came to a close March 9 when San Jacinto College Men’s Basketball suffered a heartbreaking single-point loss to conference rival Tyler Junior College during the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XIV Tournament in Jacksonville.

The basketball program was shut down as part of a 2016 decision by the Board of Trustees to eliminate four of the College’s six competitive athletic teams that also included women’s basketball, volleyball, and soccer.

Although the Ravens successfully defended their title as last year’s regional champions in the quarterfinals, beating Panola College 90-82, the hope of a national appearance came to an abrupt end in during the semifinals against Tyler with a crushing final score of 65-64.

The Ravens had a rough year before ending the season with a 19-13 overall record, but Assistant Coach Albert Talley Jr. said they faced many challenges including low player retention and multiple injuries that impacted the chemistry of the lineup.

“This has been a roller coaster season with a lot of ups and downs,” Talley said. “I think our guys were slow to buy into what we have been trying to do all year.”

Head Coach Scott Gernander agreed the Ravens got off to a rocky start but felt they were at full strength going into the postseason.

“Our team finally believes we can win every time we step on the court and that confidence is a must,” Gernander said before the regional tournament.

San Jac was the number one seed going into last year’s tournament, so the team had high expectations for a shot at the national title this year. The Ravens beat Tyler during the regular season and garnered an early lead in the semifinals game further fueling hope for advancement, according to Gernander.

“We always talk about sports being a game of runs, and we had a really good run to start the second half,” he said.

Talley continued, “That run put us up by 10 points. When it was all said and done, we just could not find a timely bucket that we needed to advance.”

Gernander points to a drop in morale and low player cohesion late in the contest as reasons for the loss, but credits Tyler for maintaining their stride and “fighting their way back into the game.”

Although a high-stakes game and one that marked the program’s closure, Talley said losing to Tyler at regionals was no more difficult to bear than other losses. 

“Every season-ending loss takes a little time to get over, and this one was no different,” he said.

However, the game against Tyler ended decades of tradition at San Jacinto College, one marked by many accomplishments and accolades. Among them, the team won 20 regional conference titles and four national titles in its 55-year history. Also, 18 Ravens players have gone on to join the NBA including former Houston Rockets Steve Francis and Sam Cassell.

Although their tenures as San Jac basketball coaches came to an end, both Gernander and Talley are continuing their associations with the College. Gernander will take on the role of Dean of Administration on the Central Campus while Talley assumes the position of Chair of the Education Department on the same campus.

Both men agreed they would miss their coaching days, but said they look forward to the latest chapter of their careers.

Gernander concluded, “We see it as an honor to stay with the College.”


Other writers contributed to this report.