NORWALK, Calif. — Despite taking a 33-28 lead at the half, East Los Angeles College fell 71-62 to Cerritos College in a matchup of Top 5 state-ranked teams in a South Coast Conference crossover game at ‘The Aviary.’
ELAC, coming off a 13-day layoff, led most of the first half even though the first frame included four lead changes and three ties. The Huskies opened with a 6-0 run and Cerritos answered with a four-minute 11-0 run. ELAC tied it at 11-11 with 13:14 remaining in the half on a layup by sophomore forward Babacar Thiombane (Fairfax High School), a transfer from Army West Point.
ELAC led 13-11 thirty seconds later on a jump shot by freshman guard Levelle Zeigler (Ridgeview HS) and never looked back for the remainder of the half. The Huskies outshot Cerritos in the first half draining 41.9% of their shots to 28.1% for the Falcons. The ELAC fans were more vocal in the first half despite being outnumbered.
Cerritos, 11-2 overall, turned the tables in the second half outscoring ELAC 43-29 and shooting 45.5% to ELAC’s 26.8. The Huskies led 36-30 with 18:46 left in the game on a free throw from sophomore guard Alec Hickman (JS Serra HS), a transfer from UC Riverside. Cerritos followed with a 10-0 run and increased its lead to double digits with 2:34 remaining in the game. The Huskies got as close as eight points before the final buzzer.
Cerritos, quicker in the second half, ramped up their defense but it was Falcon free throws that were the biggest difference in the game. Cerritos owned the charity stripe and shot 92.3% in the second half. ELAC shot 11-of-17 in the game at the line to the Falcons 21-of-26.
Freshman guard Chance Hunter (Inglewood HS) led Cerritos with a double double scoring 13 points and he had 12 rebounds.
Thiombane led the Huskies with a double double coming off the bench to score 13 points adding 12 rebounds, seven off the offensive boards.
Sophomore guard Deshaun Highler (JW North HS), a transfer from the University of Texas El Paso, scored in double digits figures for the sixth time this season with 12 points. He had seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Solomon Hunt (Upland HS) had seven rebounds.
ELAC had six blocked shots, two each from freshman center Malik Muhammad (Narbonne HS) and sophomore forward Rodney Agee (Silverado HS), a transfer from California State University, Dominguez Hills.
The Huskies (7-3) close out the year in the Cuyamaca Tournament, Friday through Sunday, Dec. 28-30 in El Cajon. The Huskies open with Santa Ana College (5-7) on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. at Cuyamaca College located at 900 Rancho San Diego Pkwy, El Cajon, CA 92019.
Follow ELAC Athletics at http://athletics.elac.edu/landing/index and ELAC Huskies Athletics on Facebook.
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia