M. Basketball: Cerritos lets lead slip in first loss of the season

File Photo: Christian Alvis-Labadie and the Falcons suffered their first loss
File Photo: Christian Alvis-Labadie and the Falcons suffered their first loss

Leading for most of the game against host Fullerton College on Saturday, the Cerritos College men's basketball team lost that lead and suffered a 69-61 loss. The setback was the first of the season for the Falcons (4-1), who will now open the Grossmont Tournament on Friday at 3:00 p.m. against the host Griffins.

Up, 42-33 with 14:33 left in the second half after a basket from sophomore Tawan Elston (Roosevelt HS), Cerritos saw the Hornets (5-1) score the next 10 points in the span of 1:12 to take a 43-42 lead. The lead changed hands several times, with the Falcons holding a 54-51 lead after a layup from freshman Chance Hunter (Inglewood HS) with 6:55 left on the clock. However, Fullerton's Jalen Moore drained a three-pointer coming out of a timeout to tie the game again.

A Hunter dunk with 5:13 left drew the Falcons to within 59-58, but the Hornets responded with another three-pointer to make it a 62-58 game with 4:01 remaining. Fullerton continued to be successful from long range and responded to a missed Cerritos shot with another trey from Moore for a 65-59 Fullerton lead with just 2:44 left in the second half. The Falcons went nearly three minutes down the stretch without scoring, as they were 0-for-5 from the field during that time. It was enough for the Hornets to pull away for the win.

Hunter led the way with 21 points and 11 rebounds, which included going 10-for-20 from the field. Sophomore Dezmon Murphy (La Mirada HS) contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots on the night, while sophomore Jamal Heckard (Carson HS/El Camino College) added seven points and four assists. Coming off the bench, freshman Jonathan Galang (Narbonne HS) hit a pair of three-pointers, with sophomore Cody Wilkes (La Mirada HS) posting five points and five rebounds.