W. Basketball: Cerritos wins consolation championship

The Falcons won the consolation championship at the Coast Christmas Classic
The Falcons won the consolation championship at the Coast Christmas Classic

After dropping their opening game at the Coast Christmas Classic at Orange Coast College, the Cerritos College women's basketball team rebounded to win their next two games. The result was the consolation championship, which improves the Falcons record to 9-5 on the year. They opened with a 71-63 loss to Irvine Valley College and then came back with wins over Saddleback College (74-70) and Chaffey College (54-36) for the consolation title. The team will take the next week off before playing in the Fullerton Tournament, which will see them open against Santa Monica College at 5:00 p.m. on December 27.

Jesenia Rendon was named to the All-Tournament team Cerritos vs. Irvine Valley: In their first game, the Falcons took a 17-11 lead in the first quarter on the strength of four three-pointers, with two coming from eventual All-Tournament selection Jesenia Rendon (Carson HS). Sophomore Gillian Yamasaki (South Torrance HS) got the game started with a trey, while sophomore Serena Rendon (Carson HS) added one of her own early on. The Lasers (6-1) scored the last 10 points in the quarter, with Yamasaki breaking the scoring drought with a jumper early in the second quarter. The Falcon deficit would get to as much as 13 points in the third quarter until a late rally drew the team within striking distance. With 6:31 left in the fourth quarter, Serena Rendon drained a three-pointer to get the team as close as 60-56. Despite going 2-for-7 after that, Cerritos converted shots from sophomore Jessica Gomez (Legacy HS) and Jesenia Rendon (pictured, above) to make the score 64-63 with 1:33 on the clock. That would be the final shot made by Cerritos, as Irvine Valley connected on a three-pointer and converted both of their free throws to close out the game. Jesenia Rendon led the team with 20 points, while Serena Rendon (12 points, six rebounds, six assists) and Yamasaki (eight points) also played well. Freshman Sarah Hernandez (St. Paul HS) accounted for seven points and five rebounds off the bench.

Cerritos vs. Saddleback: In their second tight game in as many days, the Falcons held a 34-21 second quarter lead, but had to battle back after the Gauchos took a 63-57 lead in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Na'Lon Smith (St. Paul HS/Coffeyville (KS) CC) sparked the team's comeback with a pair of baskets, with Serena Rendon breaking a 67-67 tie with a three-pointer with 1:10 left in the game. However, Saddleback's Kayla DeLeon matched that long range shot to knot the game at 70-70 with :56 seconds left. Smith was then fouled and she netted both free throws, with Yamasaki matching the feat to secure the win. Smith (7-for-12) provided 17 points and five rebounds off the bench, with Jesenia Rendon (20 points, five rebounds, six assists, three steals) and Serena Rendon (14 points, three rebounds, three assists) continuing to lead the team. Hernandez (seven rebounds) and freshman Renisha Billups (Warren HS), who had five rebounds, provided defensive support.

Cerritos vs. Chaffey: In the consolation finals, the Rendon twins combined for 35 points and six three-pointers in handing the Panthers (4-8) a loss. After taking a 29-17 lead at intermission, the Falcons pulled away with a 16-9 third quarter scoring advantage. The defense forced 20 Chaffey turnovers, while converting them into 21 points. Bench support in the win came from freshman Lynette Garcia (Downey HS/Park (MO) University), who chipped in with four points and five rebounds, while Billups pulled down five boards. Sophomore Carolina Cuevas (Legacy HS) scored all seven of her points in the paint and added six rebounds, with Gomez posting six points and four steals.