By Will Hernandez
Down to the final two games of the regular season, the men’s basketball team took care of business Friday night in the Men’s Gym as they crushed Los Angeles Trade Tech College, 94-66.
East Los Angeles College will play host, against their old adversary Mt. San Antonio College February 21.The winner of the game will be crowned the South Coast Conference North Division champion. Mt.SAC defeated Pasadena City College Friday night, 74-51.
If ELAC wins, they’ll have the chance to have home court advantage in the playoffs.
“This is a big game (Mt.SAC). They struggled earlier in the season but now they’re back to playing like the old Mt.SAC. Fortunately, we’ve got time to prepare this time, to get in shape and as long as we can get through practice and come out fresh without any injuries. We’ll be ready,” ELAC Head Coach John Mosley said.
Trade Tech entered last night’s contest as the division’s bottom-tier team, with an 11-15 overall record and 3-8 in the the SCC.
Nevertheless, the Huskies came straight out of the gates, and played with more energy and motivation, from the tip off to the last whistle.
“We came in focused, looking to take care of business. They are a good team. They had a chance for some good runs and we had to lock down and play as a unit so we could achieve our one common goal,” Husky starting forward Te’Shon Burton said.
In the first six minutes of the ball game, Husky starting forward Aaron Cheatum got the game going in ELAC’s favor. He won the opening tip off then slammed down a dunk with authority. He put the Huskies up 16-5.
Cheatum had a second slam dunk in the second half. “That was for the crowd. A lot of people showed up so I was just trying to show them something,” Cheatum said.
Within the first 10 minutes of regulation the Huskies controlled the tempo of the game. ELAC outscored Trade Tech, 31-9, and by halftime their lead jumped to 28 points, 52-24.
Burton , whose 43.0 percent from three-point range is second best in the SCC North Division. He also scored a team high of 25 points and completed three-out-of-four from beyond the arc.
“It’s all about working out hard. Coach has us in here, shooting a lot, which is helping us develop more confidence in our play. So it’s got us playing together and moving the ball around, meaning everybody will get a chance. It’ll look good as long as we play together,” Burton said.
In the second half, the Huskies lead would be reduced to 18 points, 66-38, when guard Marcus Romain contributed the team’s reluctantness to ease off the gas pedal like they did in last week’s second half lapses.
“Last week, we gave up two leads to Pasadena and Long Beach, so we weren’t going let up and made sure to blow out the lead as much as we could,” Romain said.
Romain, a first year player out of Brooklyn, New York, scored 23 points coming off the bench.He brought out a great degree of energy with his quick speed,agility and is reluctant to ever slowing down on the court.
“That’s always been my type of game, that up-tempo style is the New York style type of game, to work hard and get all my teammates involved,” Romain said.
Despite their unmatched intensity level, ELAC still had some bigger fish to fry, such as Trade Tech forward Kyle Reid who entered as the North division leader in rebounds per game with 9.3.
“It was a hard game. They’ve got a lot of good talent. We just couldn’t match their effort,” Reid said.
Next Friday, possibly be the last home game of the season, the Huskies already have the upper hand, with the at home advantage.
“In the last two years we’ve only lost twice here at home. It’s always more comfortable, just with shooting and being in your own environment.
“We try to prepare without any extras like music or any other outside sources. Instead we try to find it from within and grind it out so we can win when the crowd’s here and win when they’re not. It’ll be a great environment and it’ll help us out as well,” Mosley said.