GCC's Mike Johnson scored seven points, including a key three pointer to pull the Vaqs within four in the first half. That was as close as they would get.

GCC's Mike Johnson scored seven points, including a key three pointer to pull the Vaqs within four in the first half. That was as close as they would get. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer / November 9, 2012)

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — With a seemingly endless string of turnovers and lackluster defense in the first half, the Glendale Community College men’s basketball team got its season opener off on the wrong foot Friday afternoon.

It didn’t take long for the other shoe to drop, as the Vaqueros, who had played their way back from a double-digit deficit to within six points by halftime, were run out of their own gym by El Camino Compton College after a horrendous start to the second half.

Veteran Glendale Coach Brian Beauchemin tried numerous combinations of his largely new roster in an effort to get back in the game, but the Vaqueros were never able to turn the tide in an 89-64 loss.

“We haven’t had some guys separate yet, so they’re all kind of on an equal plane and they still haven’t separated,” said Beauchemin, who had just two players reach double figures scoring in Mark Hicks (12) and Gor Piachyan (11). “We’ve got to have eight or nine guys break away and we haven’t done it.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to figure out who’s who and what we can do and we just weren’t sharp at all. I thought we were prepared and ready. Shame on me for that, I guess.”

The Vaqueros failed to cross the midcourt stripe in the allotted eight seconds on their opening possession, setting the tone for a first half in which they would suffer from 15 turnovers. A huge advantage at the foul line, in which the Vaqueros took 15 foul shots to Compton’s two, was wasted when Glendale hit on just six of them.

But, despite falling behind, 23-11, in the first 10 minutes of the game, Glendale got right back in it with a 10-2 run.

St. Francis High graduate Emerson Castaneda got the ball rolling with a three-pointer from the corner before Alex Bullock scored on two straight possessions to make it 25-18 with 7:15 left. Mike Johnson (seven points) then hit a three from the opposite corner to pull the Vaqueros within four.

Over the next two minutes, Compton surged once again to push the lead back to nine and closed out the half on a 4-0 run after Glendale’s Nick Khan had cut the lead back to 35-33 on a putback with 1:24 to go.

But it took Glendale more than three minutes to score a field goal in the second half, as Compton quickly streaked to a 54-36 lead by the 16:00 mark, sparked by three three-pointers from Christopher Miller, who finished with a game-high 19 points.

The Vaqueros made one last counterattack, cutting the lead back to 13 when Isiah Howard connected on a three-pointer with 14:30 left, but by the 12:00 mark, Compton had pushed the lead back over 20, where it remained consistently for the remainder of the contest.

“We had 26 turnovers, I can’t remember the last time we had more than 20 turnovers in a game,” Beauchemin said. “We shot 48% from the free-throw line. Are you kidding? You can’t turn it over 26 times and expect to beat anybody.

“We have about 10 new guys, [but] I thought we had got past the jitters.”