By Rogelio Alvarez
Men’s basketball team suffered a loss against Santiago Canyon College 94-89 last Saturday in the South Gym.
“The guys did a good job. The ball just didn’t bounce all the way in tonight,” East Los Angeles College head coach John Mosley said.
ELAC came into the postseason as Southern Coast Conference-North Division champions with a first-round-bye and home-court advantage.
ELAC finished the season 9-1 in conference play and 24-6 overall.
“This is our third year in a row winning the conference championship. The guys fought hard,” Mosley said.
However, the Huskies were down on the scoreline for the majority of the game.
ELAC sophomore guard Roderick Williams led the team in the second half as it attempted to come back and tie the game.
“It’s a tough loss. We just have to bounce back. I left it all out on the floor, but unfortunately it didn’t come out our way,” Williams said.
Williams finished the game with team-high 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Williams was able to keep his composure despite the constant defensive pressure from Santiago Canyon. Williams was 12 from 13 on the free throw line.
Throughout the game, several other ELAC players stepped up and increased their intensity on the floor. Sophomore guard Nick Bertz finished the game with 11 points and five rebounds.
On defense, ELAC forced 13 turnovers from Santiago Canyon, but gave up 18 turnovers.
Freshman Abdul Bah was quick on his feet and scored 16 points for the Huskies.
“We played with our hearts. We gave everything we could but we just came up short,” Bah said.
Late in the second half, Bah assisted freshman forward Jacob Tryon who scored a 3-point shot that brought ELAC close to tying the game.
Tryon was 3 for 4 in 3-point shots and finished the game with 15 points.
ELAC came close to tying the game in the last two minutes after Williams made it 84-82, but a 3-point shot from sophomore guard Rodney Henderson increased Santiago Canyon’s lead by to five points.
The Huskies struggled to stop Henderson, who leads the state with the most rebounds, points scored and points averaged per game
“We shot the three well. That’s kind of been our key to success this year,” Santiago Canyon head coach Todd Dixon said.
The game was full of emotion, with Mosley receiving a verbal warning from a game officials.
Some of the players came out of the locker room with tears in their eyes.
“We practiced hard, but sometimes it doesn’t go in our favor,” Bah said.
If the Huskies won, it would of hosted Cerritos College in the semifinals of the California Community College Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Southern California Regional.
The Huskies made it to the semifinals last year.
“Life’s all about getting knocked down. It’s all about how you get up,” Williams said.
Saturday was the last game in an ELAC jersey for Williams and other sophomores.
The men’s basketball coaching staff will meet up in the next few weeks to discuss plans for the off season.
With the long season over, the players will continue to focus on their academics.
“Our philosophy is just to win forever. We may have lost on the scoreboard, but we want them to keep winning in life,” Mosley said.