Sophomore guard Elijah Cardenas erupted for 22 points but Porterville College couldn't hang on to a slim halftime lead and fell 93-83 in its season opener on Friday at Victor Valley College.
The Pirates were up 42-40 after 20 minutes against the Rams but were outscored by 12 points (53-41) in the second half. Victor Valley won the contest on free throws, as the Rams connected on 17 of their 23 attempts.
Cardenas was on fire from three-point range for the Pirates. He made 6 of 11 shots from behind the arc for 18 of his team-best 22 points.
A pair of freshmen had impressive debuts for Porterville. Treager Wallace had a good all-around game with 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists while Dominic King posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 assists.
Darion "DJ" Wilson also came off the bench to score 15 points while Alonso Valle led Porterville with 9 rebounds to go with 4 points.
Porterville (0-1) will look to bounce back from the loss when the Pirates host DeAnza College in their home opener on Tuesday (Nov. 13) at 6 p.m.