Monterey Park Mayor honor’s ELAC women’s basketball

By William Hernandez

After a historic season, the women’s basketball team was honored for their success by the Monterey Park community, receiving an award of recognition from Mayor David Lau last Tuesday.

“It was an honor receiving the award,” said Head Coach Bruce Turner.  My first year of recruiting, and all the high schools around East Los Angeles College didn’t even know we had a basketball team.”

The 2011-12 season was one to remember for the Huskies, as they had their most successful season in 27 years.

They advanced deep into the playoffs, losing in the regional finals to Mt. San Antonio College while posting a record of 24 wins and seven loses.

After six seasons of average success, Turner credits the two transfers in this year’s team, sophomore point guard Keyanna Johnson and sophomore forward Jamie Robinson, for finally putting his squad over the hump.

Johnson will be playing for a NCAA Division II program next year at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. Robinson has committed to Arkansas Tech University.

To go along with the Huskies successful conference play in which they had a 12-4 record, they dominated on the court since the beginning of the season.

They went up north and won the Mendocino tournament, returned to the southland and won the Cypress tournament. The Huskies beat teams that were favored to win such as Sierra and Cypress colleges, both then ranked in the state’s top-20 poll ahead of the Huskies.

At one point during the season, the Huskies knew they had something special going on.

Johnson said about winning the Mendocino tournament: “Just watching in practice as well as in the games, when we were beating the teams that were ranked higher, I opened my eyes and knew we had something special going on.”

The 2011-12 season was filled with accolades that aren’t erasable such as the South Coast Conference scoring title that was won by Johnson by averaging 18.0 points per game while scoring 559 total points in the season.

Johnson was named to the SCC First Team and First Team California Community College Athletic Association that Johnson says has “set the tone” for her upcoming career at Grand Canyon.

Robinson was also named to the 2011-2012 All-State Team as a member of the Third Team.

Along with the team’s cohesive success, six Huskies received scholarship offers in addition to Johnson. Scholarship winner and sophomore forward Francis Ordonez will play at California State University San Marcos.

Turner also spoke on the sense of accomplishment of not just getting his team to be successful on the court but off it as well.  Sophomore guard Roxanne Cardona also played volleyball while maintaining a 3.8 grade point average.

Vivian Torres was the only two-year captain he’s ever had. Turner said that his players are going to go on to be “very good citizens as well as students.”

“ELAC has been a great program, and to be a part of making good as well as history, it’s exciting,” Lau said.

There was a farewell gathering for Johnson, yesterday in the men’s gym.  Johnson signed her letter of intent to play at Grand Canyon.

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