SAN BERNARDINO – All Miles Oliver wants to be able to contribute to his team in its moment of need.
Oliver came off the bench and scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in second half as San Bernardino Valley College rallied for a 66-62 victory over Riverside City College Saturday night in the California Community College Athletic Association Southern California regional title game.
“The points came because the team was ready,” Oliver said. “I’m just glad I was able to be a part of it this time because I know the team was depending on me.”
A graduate of Etiwanda High and a bounce-back transfer from Chicago State, Oliver has been rehabilitating a lower body injury and has not played more than 15 minutes in 10 appearances this season.
“(Oliver) has been hurt and injured all year but everyone knows he’s a phenomenal player. He’s a local kid, so what an honor it is to see a San Bernardino County product lead this team back to the state finals,” SBVC coach Quincy Brewer said.
The 6-foot guard finished 7 of 13 from the field with five rebounds, two assists and two steals for San Bernardino Valley (26-5 overall), which advances to the CCCAA State Finals at West Hills College in Lemoore next week.
Thrust into the role of scorer in the absence of Dominique Daniels, Oliver got to the basket over and over again in the second half, and sank back-to-back three-pointers to keep the game close before the Wolverines’ defense and free- throw shooting could seal the win.
“(Oliver) has worked so hard for the whole season. It’s finally starting to pay off for him,” Brewer said.
Daniels, who led the Wolverines with more than 22 points per game this season, suffered a dislocated left ankle late in Thursday’s regional semifinal victory over Cypress.
“With (Daniels) going down, I wasn’t thinking about points. I was more so thinking about winning and getting this team to the state finals,” Oliver said.
SBVC ran out to an 11-0 lead to start the game but Riverside went on a 9-2 run and tied it at 15-15 midway through the first half before going into halftime with a 31-27 lead.
North grad Edwyn Collins made two 3-pointers and had 10 of his 14 points in the first half as Riverside (23-8) led by as many as nine in the second half before fading down the stretch.
“We stopped doing the things that got us 13 wins in a row and doing some of the things that got us here,” RCC coach Philip Matthews said. “The margin for error in a game like this is very small.”
Chester Makoi, SBVC 7-foot center, had seven blocks to go along with his second consecutive double-double in the playoffs (11 points, 14 rebounds), and guard Anthony Bell had 15 points in a game-high 40 minutes.
Small forward Armon Muldrew was 4 for 4 from the free-throw line late in the game and chipped in 13 points.