By Andrew Ruiz
Los Angeles Trade Technical College sought to get revenge against the East Los Angeles College men’s basketball team only to come up short, 86-80, on Jan. 16.
The Huskies defeated Trade Tech 104-77 on Dec. 12 in the 43rd Annual Riverside Holiday Tournament in Riverside, California.
With Trade Tech on its home court itching for its first South Coast Conference North Division win, ELAC was the perfect opponent to defeat after their first meeting, but the Huskies had a different plan in mind.
Five Huskies finished in double digits as the ELAC got its second consecutive win, improving its record to 10-8 overall and 2-2 in conference. Trade Tech still remains winless in the SCC North Division with an overall record of 3-15.
Sophomore guard Marcus Romain led all scorers with 32 points. Guard Je’Ron Primus, also sophomore, chipped in 12 points while sophomore shooting guard Michael Cardenas and freshman forward Richard Bivens finished with 11 apiece. Freshman forward Marquis Salmon also had 10 points.
Trade Tech couldn’t sustain the Huskies’ pressure that caused the Beavers to force 19 turnovers that resulted into a plethora of fast break points for ELAC.
“The pressure really bothered them and we were very intense getting involved and getting steals,” ELAC Head Coach John Mosley said. “That created a lot of our offense and the run with our defensive intensity.”
The Huskies extended their lead to 20, 42-22, at the 6:46 mark in the first half.
“It was a big hole to dig out of,” Trade Tech Head Coach Richard Wells said. “It seemed like every time we would make headway into it, they (ELAC) would make an adjustment and we would do some not-so-smart things and they were able to keep the cushion.”
But the cushion started to deflate after Darnell Christopher’s layup cut the Beavers’ deficit to six with 6:32 left in the game.
Although Trade Tech responded with pressure of its own and the Beavers capitalized off of ELAC’s season-high 42 turnovers, the leadership and composure of Primus and Romain down the stretch is what led the Huskies to victory.
“They’re (Je’Ron and Marcus) sophomores and they’re conference championship guards,” Mosley said. “They know what it feels like to close a game, finish the game off and how to keep composure with their experience they had last year.”
Playing under the bright lights and making plays during crucial moments of the game seemed like the norm for the dynamic duo.
Primus interchanged with Romain at the point guard position, and when he wasn’t scoring, he was putting his teammates in the right position to score. He had five of the team’s 12 assists.
Romain used his speed to dissect and maneuver through the defense for easy layups. He also shot 12-for-16 from the charity stripe when Trade Tech played the foul game in hopes of a comeback during the final minute of the game.
“They (Trade Tech) played me too close and I felt comfortable attacking the rim,” Romain said. “That’s one of the strengths to my game. Once they extended the defense, I felt like the middle opened up to make a play.”
ELAC is back on the road Jan. 21 and will face Cerritos College (8-11, 2-2 SCC South Division) at 7 p.m.