By Diego Linares
East Los Angeles College basketball won the 8th Annual Clash at Canyons by defeating Cuyamaca Community College 84-73 on Friday and Oxnard College 90-72 on Saturday.
The Huskies went into the Cougar Cage ranked No. 16 by the California Community College Athletics Association in a statewide preseason poll.
ELAC was a game away from being state champions last season and Oxnard Head Coach Ron McClurkin was well aware.
“We went up against (College of the) Canyons last night, but then you’ve got to come and play East L.A. – state finals – the second game of the year, that’s kind of tough,” said McClurkin. “When I watched them play last night I said, ‘Hey, they’re ready to play in the finals again.’”
ELAC beat Oxnard by creating second-chance opportunities when pulling down 21 offensive rebounds and were efficient in knocking down 10 three-point shots at a 45.5 percent rate.
Sophomore guard Iziahiah Sweeney recorded game-high numbers when scoring 17 points and grabbing seven offensive boards for the Huskies on Saturday. Sophomore and freshman guards Miles Ford and Sequan Walker combined for 24 points, converting 6-10 three pointer shots against Oxnard.
The Huskies had five players go into double figure scoring against Cuyamaca, with four of them being starters.
Freshman point guard Chandler Redix ran the offense for ELAC and his ability to get to the rim helped create scoring opportunities. Redix recorded 20 points on 6-8 shooting from the field and 7-9 from the free-throw line, as well as adding five assists, three rebounds and three steals on Friday afternoon.
ELAC held their opponents to a 36.9 shooting percentage throughout the tournament while shooting at a 49.65 percent rate themselves. The Huskies amassed 20 steals and nine blocks in the two games.
According to ELAC Head Coach John Mosley, jitters were expected from his athletes, and were contributed to the team turning the ball over 20 times against Cuyamaca.
In winning the tournament, coach Mosley and his staff were able to evaluate the talent on their roster and gain a better understanding of how to use them in game situations.
“I give us a C in terms of playing hard today,” Mosley said after the game on Friday. “We were just fortunate to get the win while figuring our team out.”
ELAC Assistant Coach Darren French sees the tournament as a way to give the team an identity as the players on the team gel and learn to play together.
“It’s a grind-it-out style, but that’s how we’ve won,” said coach French. “Coach (Mosley) preaches playing team ball all the time, and he’s done a really great job with getting the guys to just really buy into doing what we need to do.”
Last Wendesday, ELAC continued their winning streak with a convincing 30-point victory over Rio Hondo, 73-43.
The blowout win was led by freshman forward Zeno Lake and off the bench freshman guard Sequan Walker. Both contributed 11 points.
The Huskies are 3-0 and have been dominant this season, winning by an average margin of 20 points.
The Huskies will travel to Citrus College to participate in the Neil Edwards Classic Tournament against Orange Coast College on Friday at 7 p.m.