OCC basketball programs suffer serious injury woes

The view of center court from the Pirates’ Peterson Gym, which both the men’s and women’s basketball team call home.

The Orange Coast College basketball program that includes men's and women’s teams have been experiencing a shortage of players, which is heavily affecting both teams' records and sustainability.

The men’s team is led by head coach Steve Spencer, who has done his best to put a competitive squad on the floor every night.

Currently the team has six active players on their roster, putting them at a huge disadvantage compared to other schools who usually roster around 15 people.

“I started the season with 22 players but after multiple injuries and eligibility issues, I was forced to play with six,” said Spencer.

Despite being (4-21) and (1-12) in conference play, the Pirates' men’s team has been able to play every game.

Like Spencer, it has also been a stressful season for Sammy Doucette, the head coach for the women’s team. They’ve only been able to play 15 out of 26 games this season.

“Initially I had seven players but two hours before the first game, one of our players got injured so we had to play with six for a little while,”  Doucette said.

After playing with six players for five of the first six games, the women’s team was hit with more bad news.

“We found out that one of our players had to go to Vietnam for a month for personal reasons,” said Doucette.

Now more depleted than ever, the five players left were faced with the harsh reality of playing all 40 minutes in the game with no substitutions. That only lasted a couple games before they encountered yet another injury to the team.

The Orange Empire Conference has made it illegal to play with less than five players on the court. The women’s team has had to cancel 10 out of their last 11 games because of this specific reason.

With two games left on the regular season schedule, Doucette is still not rolling over.

“We’re supposed to be getting one player back for the last two games,” said Doucette, “making us eligible again.”

Both coaches have faced tremendous amounts of adversity all season, but the way they’ve been able project the “Never ever give up” mentality on their players reaches far beyond basketball.

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