M. Basketball: Team wins Irvine Valley Tournament title

Falcons celebrate winning the Irvine Valley Tournament title
Falcons celebrate winning the Irvine Valley Tournament title

With three wins in as many days, the Cerritos College men's basketball team captured the championship of the Irvine Valley Tournament. The Falcons (5-1) posted wins over both Imperial Valley (66-51) and College of the Canyons (64-51) before defeating Santa Monica College, 77-67 to clinch the title. The team will now host San Bernardino Valley College at 3:00 p.m. next Saturday in a non-conference game.

Cerritos vs. Imperial Valley: The Falcons led from start to finish, with advantages as much as 33-17 with 4:43 left in the first half, while it shrunk to 42-40 with 15:24 left in the second half. The teams combined to miss the next 10 shots over the next 3:27, with the only points being a pair of free throws by sophomore Anthony Lefeau (Orange Lutheran HS). It was a 46-40 lead after sophomore Devan Burrell (Centennial, NV HS/Cypress College) converted a layup and Cerritos went on to post the win. Freshman Dezmon Murphy (La Mirada HS) led the team with 17 points, while sophomore Brian Nebo (St. John Bosco HS) added 14 points and 11 rebounds. As a team, the Falcons collected 15 offensive rebounds, with Nebo and sophomore Cristian Perez (Santa Fe HS) combining for 11, with Perez chipping in nine points and four steals. 

Cerritos vs. College of the Canyons: Another fast start gave the team a 17-8 lead, with Perez accounting for 10 of those points. The team only trailed 3-2 early in the game, and started pulling away from a 29-26 game early in the second half on a pair of Jonathan Guzman (Paramount HS) free throws, followed by a pair GUzman three-pointers for a 37-26 lead with 16:12 remaining. It was a four-point game (39-35) when freshman Malik Smith (Gahr HS) netted a pair of free throws, en route to their second win in the tournament. Perez led the team with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Lefeau finished with 13 points and four boards off the bench. Sophomore Salvador Carlos (Downey HS/Biola University) posted 11 points, while Nebo added six points.

Cerritos vs. Santa Monica: Guzman had the hot hand against the Corsairs, draining 9-of-11 shots and led all scorers with 21 points, along with a team-high 13 rebounds and five assists. It was another tape-to-tape win for the Falcons, who slowly started pulling away, as they turned a 23-20 lead with 5:48 left in the first half into a 38-31 lead at intermission. Cerritos opened the second half on a 13-6 run for a 51-37 lead, which included baskets by five different players. Guzman also converted a three-point play during that run. Nebo (11 points, five steals, four rebounds), Carlos (10 points) and Perez (10 points, seven rebounds) all scored in double-figures, while freshman Riley Hamilton (Rancho Verde HS) posted nine points off the bench.

Perez was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, while Nebo and Carlos were selected All-Tournament.