Making their first home appearance of the season, the Cerritos College men's basketball team had to acclimate themselves with their home court in a game setting. Hosting East Los Angeles College in a South Coast Conference crossover game on Friday, the Falcons battled back from a first half deficit to record a 71-62 win at The Aviary. Cerritos (11-2) will now enjoy the holiday break and return to action on January 4 when they travel to Mt. San Antonio College for another conference crossover game.
After spotting the Huskies (7-3) the first six points of the game, Cerritos returned the favor by recording the next nine points, which included a three-pointer from freshman Jonathan Galang (Narbonne HS). East Los Angeles then went on a 12-2 run for an 18-11 advantage, while the deficit was five points (33-28) by intermission.
It was in the second half that the Falcons started to turn things around with their collapsing defense and transition offense. They took the lead for good on an offensive rebound and put-back by freshman Daelyn Bams (Villa Park HS) with 14:45 left in the second half for a 38-36 lead. The advantage slowly began to swell, with sophomore guard Tawon Elston (Roosevelt HS) providing a spark. His three-pointer, followed by one of two free throws gave the Falcons a 48-40 lead with 12:08 left and once the lead went to double-digits on a pair of free throws from freshman Chance Hunter (Inglewood HS), it remained that way until the final seconds.
Aside from freshman Andre Fields (Warren HS), who was 6-for-6 in the first half, Cerritos converted just 3-of-7 from the charity stripe. But the second half was a different story, as they netted 12-of-13, which helped them record the win. Both teams struggled from the field at times and neither were successful from long range. However, the Falcons used small scoring bursts to increase their lead during rhe night.
Balanced scoring also aided Cerritos, as Hunter (13 points, 12 rebounds), Fields (10 points, five rebounds) and sophomore guard Jamal Heckard (Carson HS/El Camino College), who contributed 12 points, accounted for double-digit scoring. Elston added eight points and four rebounds off the bench, with sophomore Dezmon Murphy (La Mirada HS) accounting for seven points and seven boards. Bams also finished with six points and four rebounds in the win.
Photos by Daryl Peterson