In their final tournament of the season, the Cerritos College men's basketball team won two of three games at College of the Sequoias over the weekend. The Falcons (10-2), opened with a 76-64 loss to Fresno City College, but followed that with wins over Shasta College (76-39) and the host Giants (68-66). The team will open South Coast Conference crossover play on Friday when they host East Los Angeles College at 6:00 p.m. at The Aviary. The Huskies (7-2) are entering the game on the heels of winning the Riverside City Tournament.
Cerritos vs. Fresno City: With both teams riding winning streaks and climbing up the state rankings, the Rams had just enough in the tank to pull away from the Falcons. Cerritos trailed by as much as 17 points in the game in the second half and played the entire second half from behind. They were able to open a 28-22 lead with five minutes left in the first half, but saw Fresno City score 15 of the final 22 points by intermission for a 37-35 advantage. Continuing to ride that momentum, the Rams were able to add to their lead with the Falcons going 10 minutes and scoring only four points, which saw their deficit swell to 57-42 with 10:11 left on the clock. Sophomore Dezmon Murphy (La Mirada HS) would come off the bench to lead the team in scoring (18 points) and rebounds (nine), and was the only player in double-figures. The Falcons shot just 39% from the field, with the bench accounting for 42 points. A pair of starters, Cody Wilkes (La Mirada HS) and Chance Hunter (Inglewood HS) combined for 17 points, with sophomore Tawon Elston (Roosevelt HS) contributing eight points off the bench.
Cerritos vs. Shasta: Rebounding the next day, the Falcons outscored the Knights, 45-14 in the second half on the way to their 37-point win. Cerritos took advantage of 13 second half turnovers by Shasta, while committing just 10 in the game. A 51-34 rebound advantage, with 15 of them on the offensive end, helped produce the win. Using their size in the middle, the Falcons scored 48 of their points in the paint, with four post players combining for 38 points and 27 rebounds. The game started with Cerritos opening up an 8-0 lead, and after it was a 12-2 lead, the Knights made a move. Sparked by three-point shooting, Shasta scored the next 12 points to take a 15-12 lead. But that didn't last long, as Murphy drove the court for a dunk, followed by an Elston layup to give the Falcons a lead they would not give up the rest of the game. Freshman Andre Fields (Warren HS) led the team with 12 points, while Hunter and Murphy each posted 10 points. Freshman Daelyn Bams (Villa Park HS) came off the bench to add six points and 10 points, with Elston and freshman Jonathan Barajas (Alhambra HS) each posting six bench points. Freshman Jeremiah Galang (Narbonne HS) also accounted for nine points, with Fields and sophomore Jamal Heckard (Carson HS/El Camino College) combinng for nine assists.
Cerritos vs. College of the Sequoias: In their final game, the Falcons squared off against the host Giants. Holding a slim lead, Cerritos was able to hold off Sequoias by netting five of their final six free throws. With :15 seconds remaining, Wilkes was good on both of his attempts for a 65-62 lead and after Keyshawn Gibbs converted one of two free throws for the Giants, Murphy was fouled after pulling down the rebound on the miss. He was good on both of his free throws with :08 seconds left and the Falcons led, 67-63. A three-pointer from the Giants Deeandre Hulett with :06 seconds left closed the game to 67-66. Freshman Jalen Washington (Bishop Montgomery HS) was fouled on the inbound pass and made one of two free throws. College of the Sequoias pulled down the rebound, but could not get off a shot before the final buzzer. Murphy, who was named All-Tournament, led the team with 13 points and eight rebounds, while Hunter (12 points, 8 rebounds), Fields (11 points) and Galang (11 points) also scored in double-figures.
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