By Diego Linares & Gabrielle Osei
The No. ninth seeded men’s basketball team won its first ever playoff game over Mira Costa College, 76-62, last Friday advancing to the Sweet Sixteen, the Southern California Regional semifinals tonight.
Advancing to the next round, the Huskies, 21-7 overall, will travel south to face SoCal’s No. 1 seed, Saddleback College tonight at 7 p.m. in Mission Viejo.
The game was a defensive battle after No. eighth seeded Mira Costa, who ended their season 19-10, played a man to man defensive scheme.
Late in the game, the Huskies took control and turned the tide to an offensive battle.
East Los Angeles College’s collective defensive team effort then sealed the win for the Huskies.
The Huskies got off to a slow start in the first half trailing Mira Costa the majority of the half.
The key to the victory was Dushon Carter’s defensive play against Mira Costa’s Baptiste Boucharel, who was held to six points.
Boucharel averaged 17 points per game coming into the second round playoff game.
Both teams had a first-round bye.
ELAC got some clutch three-point shooting from Frankie Aguliar who scored 15 points. Aguilar was perfect from beyond the arc connecting on all four of his three-point attempts.
The Huskies were led in scoring by Aaron Cheatum with 17 points and Jaree Crawford, who scored 16. Saddleback finished the regular season with a 16 game winning streak, 26-4 overall. Saddleback skated through the Orange Empire Conference undefeated.
ELAC was 2-1 this season against OEC opponents beating Santa Ana College, 75-55, in the San Diego Mesa tournament championship and Cypress, 72-65 in overtime also at San
ELAC lost a close struggle against Orange Coast College, 82-81. ELAC tied for third in the South Coast Conference.
The Huskies handed Mt. San Antonio College two of there three losses, keeping the Mounties from being the No. 1-ranked team in the state.
“Saddleback is going to be an even bigger challenge for us, but our players are fighters and they really play well in big games,” Mosley said. Saddleback is lead by Darnell Taylor, who averages 11.4 points per game.
Saddleback relies heavily on their defense and rebounding ability, holding their opponents to 48.2 points per game and averaging 35.4 rebounds per game.
The winner advances to the Elite Eight, the Regional finals, on Friday at 7 p.m.
The other semifinal pits No. 4-seeded Chaffey College (24-6) hosting No. 12-seeded Palomar College (21-9).
The higher seed will host the finals fighting for a Final-Four spot.