By Tadzio Garcia
Twelve Huskies scored as the state’s No. 4-ranked East Los Angeles College defeated Los Angeles Harbor College, 86-68, in a divisional crossover game yesterday to win its seventh consecutive game.
ELAC and Harbor had nine games this season of common opponents with the Huskies getting nine wins and Harbor winning just two.
“We played the entire team for a more competitive game for all players on the (floor),” ELAC Head Coach Bruce Turner said. “A more even game teaches everyone to work together regardless of who’s on the court.”
The non-starting Huskies averaged 12.3 minutes of playing time and the starters averaged 24. “Our reserve players felt the pressure of playing in a close game in the first half, while our starters played unselfishly to pull away in the second half,” Turner said. “Harbor is a good team and much improved.”
ELAC, 21-2 overall and 3-1 in the South Conference North Division, will host No. 1 Mt. San Antonio College (24-0, 4-0) in a match-up at ELAC on Feb. 6 with championship implications.
Both teams each have two divisional crossover contests until then, which do not affect conference standings.
An ELAC win against Mt. SAC creates a first place tie, with each team controlling their own destiny of conference title aspirations by winning out before the playoffs.
Against Harbor, the Huskies led 44-37 at the half and opened up the second half with a 10-1 run in just 4:36 minutes to increase their lead to a 54-38.
The Huskies increased their lead to 24 points with 6:13 remaining. The final score was as close as Harbor got.
In the first half, ELAC opened the first three minutes of the game with three consecutive 3-point shots from freshman guards Kyla Martin-Burnley and Olivia Ochoa, and also sophomore forward Jocelyne Diaz.
Harbor responded each shot with a layup, two from sophomore forward Kiana Angel. Angel lit up the boards in the first half scoring 15 by halftime. She is the eighth-best scorer in the state.
Ochoa and Martin-Burnley led the Huskies in scoring with 19 points apiece. Ochoa added four steals and six assists. Diaz had a double-double for ELAC scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, three of them from the offensive glass.
Freshmen reserves Abigail Vasquez (forward) and Dynasti Shelby (guard) each scored seven points off the bench for ELAC. Vasquez added the Huskies’ only blocked shot and was 3-for-4 from the free throw line. Shelby was a perfect 4-for-4 from the line.
ELAC’s next home game is Wednesday, Feb. 4 against Los Angeles Southwest College (6-14).
Southwest freshman forward Amber Blockmon has some of the best stats in the state with a 13.2 rebound average per game, fifth-best in the state and 48 blocked shots, the states 6th-best.