Ravens ready to rock regionals


Jeannie Peng-Armao

Livingston (front) lights up the court with 9 rebounds and 29 points against Odessa, helping his team achieve regional tournament qualification status.

New experiences can make even seasoned coaches nervous!

Just like building a new home, a strong foundation must be in place before structuring the rest of an athletic team. In this case, a strong San Jacinto College Basketball tradition served as a solid base while Men’s Head Basketball Coach, Scott Gernander, took on the challenge of rebuilding his team.

The 2012-2013 Men’s basketball team consisted of mostly sophomores who transferred from San Jac, leaving Gernander with quite a challenge. In a matter of months, he had to recruit an entirely new team of Ravens.

“There is always some uncertainty when rebuilding a team,” Gernander said, “I think coaches feel a little more comfortable having returners. But, I was definitely optimistic about starting over and thought that some of our transfers we signed would help with the leadership that is usually provided by returners.”

Despite trepidations, a brand new team in sharp jerseys took the court Nov. 1 in their season opener at home ending with an impressive Raven win against Lone Star College – Tomball.

Furthermore, along with the new players came a fresh face on the coaching staff. Jeffrey Mailhot, a San Jac alumnus, obtained the assistant coaching position alongside Albert Talley who is in his second season with the San Jac basketball team.

“He’s a great recruiter,” Gernander said of the newest hire.

Prior to signing on at San Jac, Mailhot coached at Midland and Howard Colleges. The Howard College Hawks won a national championship under his leadership. He also had the opportunity to recruit and coach now Dallas Maverick, Jae Crowder.

“Since we (Mailhot and Gernander) played here over ten years ago, we both spoke of the possibility of working together down the line at San Jac, and when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it,” Mailhot said.

Gernander also said he admires Mailhot’s passion for San Jac Basketball and knowledge of what it takes to be successful.

The Ravens are currently 19-4, 9-2 in conference play. Three of their losses are to nationally ranked teams.

“I felt that we would take a while to find our chemistry, and we had quite a few early tests in our non-conference schedule that made us better as a team,” Gernander said.

And better they are. With just two conference losses, the Ravens are sitting at the top of the Conference, which, if continued, will lead to the regional tournament qualification. Because of a series of injuries and foul outs, last season’s team ended their run with just four court-ready players in the regional semi-finals.

Since the home stretch is now in sight, the Ravens must stay at the top of the conference to secure their position at the Regional Tournament.

With the player’s talent and an experienced coaching staff in place, Mailhot said the Ravens hope to continue their success in 2014 and “for another 30 years.”

“I want to help my team go as far as possible,” Ravens freshman Anthony Livingston said.
Six foot eight Livingston leads the team in rebounds and is a top scorer for the men’s team.

When asked if nervous about the potential success of an entirely new team, Livingston confidently replied, “Nervous? Not at all.”