By Tadzio Garcia
The men’s team lost, 71-61, at Pasadena City College on Wednesday, eliminating themselves from playoff consideration while the women’s team lost a, 60-56, nail-biter.
Both teams host El Camino College Compton Center tonight in their final games of the regular season. The women’s game begins at 5 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. start time for the men’s team.
The Huskies and Pasadena men’s teams were fighting for a second-place finish in the South Coast Conference and what will likely be the final bid in the California Community College Athletics Assocation men’s basketball Southern California regional playoffs.
Pasadena’a 10-point victory was closer than the score indicates. The Huskies down 32-31 at the half were only down 57-53 with 4:02 left in the game after Harris Javier’s two swishes at the line.
The Lancers then out rebounded the Huskies and connected on 11-of-13 from the line to turn a close game into a 10-point win.
East Los Angeles College had a better shooting night. However, PCC made up the difference by grabbing 46 total rebounds and shooting a blistering 80.8 percent at the line, connecting on 21 of 26.
“We let this one slip away but we never gave up,” said sophomore guard Zach Ward.
Highlights for the Huskies include Deon Geary with 20 points and Rafael Morelos with 13 points, four assists and two blocks.
Javier scored 10 points including two key three-point baskets and had three assists. Shooting 100 percent at the line included Javier, Morelos and Elson Vessel.
Pasadena finished the regular season with a record of 16-12 overall, 7-6 in the SAC. ELAC (12-13, 5-7) will end its season tonight.
“We had a great opportunity in front of us and did not respond to the moment,” said six-year head coach Rob Rivera.
The last time the men’s team entered the playoffs was the 2001-2002 season when the 23rd-seeded Huskies lost, 88-85, in three overtimes to Chaffey College who was then ranked 9th.
Current assistant coach Danny Rosalez led the Huskies that year as the team’s center. ELAC finished with a 22-12 record.
Rivera and current assistant coach Tony Veglia were assistant coaches at that time. The team had a 109-99 record-breaking victory over El Camino College.
Other highlights included beating state runner-up L.A. City College, 53-52, in SCC play and upsetting state semi-finalist Riverside City College in non-conference battle.
The Huskies beat Pasadena three times that year by an average of seven points per game and swept Long Beach City and LA Trade Tech colleges.
Women’s team is upset
The Huskies rolled into the Pasadena game as the No. 7-ranked team in the state and a guaranteed two home playoff games because of being ranked 4th in the Southern California poll.
That might change. However, a huge win against Compton should garner the Huskies a high enough seeding for two home-court advantage games.
That is, if the Huskies win in the first round of the playoffs.
The Huskies and Pasadena entered the game as two of the hottest teams in the SCC. ELAC entered the game posting a 7-1 record in their last eight games.
Pasadena came in at 5-1 in their last six outings and was fighting for a playoff berth. It was their last regular season game.
After posting a 40-31 lead, the Huskies’ offense disappeared for four minutes while Pasadena outscored them 16-0.
At 3:19 left in the game, an ELAC rally began with Jessica Martinez scoring two at the line to trim Pasadena’s lead to 54-48.
Antineisha Hill scored at 1:45 to pull the Huskies within one, 54-53. ELAC held tough on defense and got the ball back with the crowd screaming.
The Huskies then missed three successive shots under the basket. The game continued scoreless until 36.5 seconds when the Huskies began fouling.
Pasadena connected at the line outscoring ELAC 6-1 for the final score ending the regular season with a record of 15-12 overall, 9-6 in the SCC. Jamie Robinson led all scorers with 15 points.
Robinson also had 16 rebounds and three assists. Keyanna Johnson scored 12 points. Other Husky highlights included Dorian Quinonez with eight rebounds.
Hill and Roxanne Cardona each had six rebounds. Jessica Martinez and Quinones shot a perfect 100 percent at the line.
“What happened happened. We will adjust and move forward. We’ve proved that we can play with anyone in the state at any time,” said Johnson.
The Huskies (21-6, 11-4) are 2-0 vs. top-20 teams from Northern California. ELAC split their games against SCC ranked teams in Mt. SAC, Cerritos and Long Beach.
Johnson’s twin sister, Kinyada Johnson, is an assistant coach at PCC. “Keyanna plays for the Huskies and was just another player to me tonight. We (Pasadena) came out aggressive to win and that we did,” said Kinyada Johnson.
Kinyada was award the Most Valuable Player award after leading Pasadena to the 2009-2010 women’s state title.
Keyanna is in the position to do the same for the Huskies this year.