M. Basketball: Loss to rival drops team into first place tie

Tawon Elston scores two of his 23 points against Long Beach City
Tawon Elston scores two of his 23 points against Long Beach City

With their 90-85 South Coast Conference South Division loss to rival Long Beach City College on Friday night, the Cerritos College men's basketball team has slipped into a first place tie. The Falcons, who play three of their final four regular season games on the road, will travel to El Camino College for a 5:00 p.m. game next Wednesday.

The Vikings (20-6, 5-1) opened up a 61-53 lead with 12:06 left on the clock after Jordan Head converted a three-point play. Sophomore guard Tawon Elston (Roosevelt HS), who scored 12 straight points for the Falcons in the second half, came right down the court and scored on a layup, while he followed by converting a couple of free throws. Cerritos continued to battle back and after a three-pointer from Chance Hunter (Inglewood HS) with 8:59 left, trailed only, 67-64.

Sophomore guard Cody Wilkes (La Mirada HS) followed with another long distance jumper to knot the game at 67-67 with 8:14 remaining, and then eventually took a 79-75 lead on a three-point play from Hunter with 3:11 left on the clock.

However, LBCC's Charles Smith, who hadn't scored all night, drained consecutive three-pointers to get the Vikings to within 82-81, while Jeremiah Sadler converted a pair of free throws to put the Falcons down by a point. In the final 2:05, Long Beach City scored all of their points from the free throw line, including Sadler, who went 6-for-6, which sealed the win for the Vikings. Cerritos went just 2-for-8 from the field in the final 3:00 of the game.

Elston led the team with 23 points, along with six rebounds, with Hunter checking in with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomore guard Jamal Heckard (Carson HS/El Camino College) accounted for 16 points and four assists, with sophomore center Austin Freeman (Rancho Dominguez Prep HS) coming off the bench to pull down 11 rebounds and score eight points due to foul trouble against freshman Daeyln Bams (Villa Park HS).

Photos by Daryl Peterson