The Citrus men’s basketball team (16-11, 6-4 WSC) will not be returning to the California Community College Athletics Association Final Four for the fourth consecutive season after falling to the Saddleback Gauchos (26-4, 12-0 OEC) 78-64 March 2.
The season did not live up to the standards of seasons past, as the Owls have been a perennial powerhouse in both the Western State Conference and the CCCAA.
The squad was ranked #1 in preseason after a 28-2, 2011-12 season that ended at the hands of the Fresno City Rams, who would go on to win the state title. Howev- er, that changed when the team lost their season opener to El Camino, quickly followed by another to Mt. San Jacinto a week later.
“What was key for us was to find the same level of effort night in and night out,” said freshman guard Darius Middleton, who red- shirted during the 2011-12 season. “We weren’t consistent, and in the playoffs you have to have that to move on.”