With Steve Kerr’s blessing, Jaguars prove too much for Gavilan College

The Jaguars’ record stands at 24-4 after a 84-68 win


Photo by Angel Carrisosa/Times Staff

Jaguars player Jacob Harper blocks a shot.

Anticipation was building in the gym on Feb. 15, as the San Jose City College Jaguars looked to play their final home basketball game of the season, and second to last overall before heading to the championship bracket, in hopes of extending their six game winning streak against Gavilan College, who were visiting from Santa Clara.

And yet, the most important highlight yet of their season happened in January, when Golden State Warriors Head Coach and nine-time NBA champion Steve Kerr shared important words of encouragement to the Jaguars as they entered the home stretch of the season.

“Keep working on your defensive concepts and offensive execution. Lock in and practice everyday, and the joy has to be there,” Kerr said in a short recording posted to the Jaguars’ Instagram account on Jan. 28.

Mison Coilton attempting a free throw shot. (Photo by Angel Carrisosa/Times Staff)

During the game’s opening moments, Gavilan successfully controlled the paint and moved the ball around nicely to open shooters, quickly attaining an early lead by taking advantage of mistakes caused by a frenetic, but sloppy pace from the Jaguars. However, the Jaguars quickly composed themselves and started draining three-pointer after three-pointer and grabbing a lion’s share of the available rebounds, ending the first period with a seven-point advantage.

The second period was also close for long stretches, with players from Gavilan closing in on a single score deficit numerous times, but never being quite able to close the gap.

Eventually, the Jaguars started to quickly expand their lead with a bevy of unanswered transition layups and second-chance points, led notably by the dynamic duo of Gavin Wilburn and Mison Coilton, who together combined for 49 points. With a double-digit lead and time ticking, the Jaguars found themselves well on their way to a dominant win with minutes to spare.

Despite the closeness throughout, it was never in doubt for Coilton, who said that the Jaguars “knew we were better.”

Jaguars celebrate victory over Gavilan. (Photo by Angel Carrisosa/Times Staff)

Coach Devin Aye shared similar sentiments, and said that he feels the Jaguars are “playing really well” and are a “special group.”

The Jaguars are on a eight-game winning streak after another win last weekend against Hartnell, and are the Coast Conference Champions. Their next stop is the regional playoff tournament, which will crown the best community college team in California.

“We’re coming to dominate, we’re coming to take home the California State Championship,” said Wilburn after the victory against Gavilan.