By Will Hernandez and Jesus Figueroa
The East Los Angeles College Men’s Basketball team used their home support to secure an important conference victory 68-61 over Cerritos College despite a late threat.
ELAC will next face off against the reigning State Champions, Mount San Antonio College tomorrow.
“Every win is a statement, and any win in this conference is pretty good,” said ELAC’s Head Coach John Mosely.
A busted lip cause problems for Husky forward Aaron Cheatum during the second half as officials stopped play several times due to blood dripping on the floor from Cheatum’s lip. He was held to six point in the entire game.
Going into the game, Cerritos had won their last three games and are on top of the South Coast Conference South division while ELAC entered with a 2-1 SCC record and 13-5 overall record.
The first half got off to a slow start with the Huskies mishandling the ball and making bad passes turning the ball over five times.
ELAC broke out of an offensive slump and took the lead on a fast break play that started as a result of an defensive rebound by forward Zach Hinton.
Mosely yelled “push” from the sidelines as ELAC went into offense .
“Well it was a hard fought game all the way till the end. Both teams (were) battling it out. Our bench did it for us. They helped keep us in the game,” Hinton said.
Hinton said that as a second year player he had to take more of a leadership role in the team and help first year players ELAC’s playing style.
A critical turning point in the game, the Huskies trailed for a short period of time but outscored Cerritos 19-3 in the final six minutes of the first half to lead 33-21 at halftime.
“Once we started executing what we wanted to do – running patterns and stuff – and playing well defensively is when we took control. To hold them to 21 points in the first half, that’s pretty good,” Mosely said.
The closest Cerritos came to a tie game, was after two straight offensive turnovers by the Huskies. Cerritos quickly converted the turn-overs into points reducing the ELAC lead to 48-46 during the second half of the game.
ELAC maintained both the lead and momentum of the game with fans cheering them on chanting “play smart Huskies!”
With 31.9 seconds left in the game, Cerritos challenged the Huskies large lead with tough defense.
The Huskies continued to play hard through the final moments of the game and successfully defeated Cerritos shutting down their late attempts to win the game.
“Our coach (Mosely) prepares us for these moments and helps us for these situations” Hinton said.
“It’s a tough conference, and a tough team, I get beat up everyday,” Cheatum said.
With the win, the Huskies are now tied for first in the SCC North division with El-Camino Compton Center.