By Bryce Ronquillo
The men’s basketball team ended its season on Saturday with a 26-4 overall record after a fourth round playoff loss to top ranked Saddleback College by the score of 68-58.
East Los Angeles College went into this contest coming off a 71-52 win against Mt. San Jacinto College on Wednesday.
Against MSJC, ELAC went into half time winning 32-25. In the second half, the Huskies found its offensive rhythm when freshman guards Chandler Redix and Sequan Walker stole the show.
“I noticed they weren’t coming out to guard me so I just kept attacking their soft spots,” Redix said.
Redix finished with a team-high 17 points. Walker followed up with 11 points. Seven of those came in the second half when he substituted for an injured Iziahiah Sweeny.
ELAC shot 54 percent from the field, compared to MSJC, which shot 34 percent.
The Huskies had an excellent defensive game against MSJC. However, that wasn’t the case against Saddleback.
In the first half, the Huskies were down by as many as 14 points. They started the game down 2-16.
“When playing high-level teams, you have to make sure you have a good start, especially on their home floor,” head coach John Mosley said.
ELAC struggled to rebound against Saddleback’s bigger line-up. Saddleback played a majority of the game with two big men in at the same time. The Huskies were outrebounded 48-33. Freshman center Breaon Brady led all rebounds with 12, eight of them came in the first half.
ELAC went into the locker room with a little momentum after back-to-back scores by sophomore guard Sweeny and freshman forward Zeno Lake to make the score 34-24.
The Huskies lost none of that momentum heading into the second half. Sweeny scored nine of his 21 points in the beginning nine of the half. A, put-back layup by sophomore guard Miles Ford made the score the score 38-35.
“We were disappointed in our first half because this game is what we were waiting for all year,” Ford said. “We came out (in the second half) with a different intensity. We didn’t want to lose.”
The Huskies cut Saddleback’s lead to as few as two points, but a 10-0 run spearheaded by Saddleback sophomore guard Maurice Jones put the Huskies down 58-46 with five minutes left in the game. Jones led Saddleback in scoring with 13 points, including two big second half three-pointers.
ELAC followed with a 11-2 run to make the score 60-57 with 1:16 left in the game, forcing Saddleback to call a timeout.
Saddleback put the ball in the hands of no other than it’s star freshman point guard T.J. Shorts. Shorts made an acrobatic left hand layup with 44 seconds left and on the ensuing possession sank two free throws to extend the lead to 64-57 with 31 seconds left.
ELAC only led once in the game and that was when the score was 2-0.
The Huskies finish the season with a 26-4 record, the best in school history.
“It hurts to lose to (Saddleback) again. We could only look forward to next year to come back harder and stronger,” Redix said.