The way the first 5:35 of their South Coast Conference South Division game went, it appeared as though the Cerritos College men's basketball team would be in for a stress-free night. The Falcons, who were playing without key sophomores Christian Alvis-Labadie (Whittier Christian HS) and Dezmon Murphy (La Mirada HS), opened the game by scoring the first 10 points against visiting Los Angeles Harbor College. To the credit of the Seahawks (9-14, 1-4), they battled back and gave Cerritos (18-5, 5-0) more than they expected in a 64-61 win on Wednesday night.
After battling their way back in the game, LA Harbor stayed within striking distance and eventually took a 41-40 lead with 11:35 left in the clock. The Falcons came right back down to re-take the lead on a jumper by freshman Jalen Washington (Bishop Montgomery HS). The Seahawks were able to take a three-point lead (60-57) with 2:44 remaining after a three-pointer from Henry Johnson. But the Cerritos defense clamped down and limited their opponents to just one point the remainder of the game while limiting them to just three failed shot attempts and forced a pair of turnovers.
Sophomore Cody Wilkes (La Mirada HS) drew the team to within one point (60-59) after converting a pair of free throws, with 2:24 left, with LA Harbor converting one of two from the charity stripe for a 61-59 lead with 2:07 left on the clock. After both teams turned the ball over on their next possession, freshman Chance Hunter (Inglewood HS) converted a jumper. Washington, who took the initial shot on the possession, grabbed his own rebound, which led to the Hunter basket with 43.4 and tied the game.
A missed Johnson jump shot was pulled down by Hunter with 16.4 seconds left, which put him at the line for a pair of free throws after he was fouled. Coming out of a timeout, Hunter missed the first attempt but converted the second. The Seahawks were able to get off a pair of three-point attempts before the final buzzer, but neither were successful.
Hunter led the Falcons with 19 points and nine rebounds, while sophomore Tawon Elston (Roosevelt HS) came off the bench to contribute 14 points and three rebounds. Washington (eight points, four rebounds), Wilkes (seven points, six rebounds) and freshman Daelyn Bams (Villa Park HS), who added nine rebounds, also played well. Turning in another strong all-around game was sophomore guard Jamal Heckard (Carson HS/El Camino College), who finished the night with seven points, seven rebounds and three assists.
The Falcons will host rival Long Beach City College at 5:00 p.m. on Friday.
Photos by Daryl Peterson
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