MONTEREY PARK, CA The No. 4-seed East Los Angeles College men's basketball team defeated No. 5-seed Mt. San Jacinto College 71-52 in a CCCAA Southern California Regional semifinal playoff game.
The Huskies (26-3) move on to the Regional Finals in a Round 4 playoff matchup at Saddleback College (29-1) on Saturday, March 5 at 7 p.m.
It will be a rematch of last year's state championship game that Saddleback won 50-47. Saddleback defeated No. 9-seed Bakersfield College (24-6), 64-56 in overtime, in another SoCal Regional semifinal.
Mt. San Jacinto came into tonight's contest averaging 45.1 rebounds per game, 30 of them defensive rebounds, each the most in the state, but had 29 rebounds tonight.
The Eagles, who average 80.4 points per game, scored a season low 52 points.
Sophomore forward Richard Bivens (Bakersfield Ridgeview HS) scored 22 seconds later, assisted by Anakwenze.
With 17:52 left in the half, Eagle freshman guard Tre Nottingham connected on a 3-point shot for a 5-4 lead. Teammate starting freshman forward Nick Pete scored his only basket of the game with 16:42 left in the half for a 9-6 Eagle lead.
ELAC responded with a 10-1 run that began with 16:16 left in the half. It started with a second chance shot, a 3-point bomb from sophomore guard Miles Ford, assisted from Anakwenze who passed his offensive rebound from within a crowd.
Continuing the run, also with two points each were freshman guard Jalen Gilmore (Washington Prep HS) two free throws from and a jump shot from sophomore guard Jarrell Tate (Birmingham, Alabama Wenonah HS) who scored with 10:15 left in the half for a 17-10 ELAC lead.
Three minutes later, Nottingham connected on two free throws to pull the Eagles within three, down 21-18.
ELAC took a double-digit lead 39-28 lead off a Sweeny jump shot, with 18:20 left in the game.
Walker came off the bench and scored seven of ELAC's next eight points in a span more than three minutes that included a 3-point shot with 15:06 left in the game.
The Huskies play kept two digit leads for the remainder of the game.
"It was not an easy win," said ELAC Coach John Mosley. "They (Mt. San Jacinto) are a very good team."
ELAC made 54.8 per cent of its field goals and connected on 29-of-53 two-point baskets.
Mt. San Jacinto hit 34.8 per cent (16-of-46) and were 4-of-23 from beyond the arc.
ELAC's offensive standouts were freshmen guards Redix who scored 17 points and Walker who added 11.
Two freshmen led the scoring for the Eagles. Pacific Coast North Conference Player of the Year Nottingham scored 16 points and forward Orlando Quinones came off the bench to score 10 points.
Anakwenze scored eight points for the Huskies and had two dunks and two blocked shots.
The CCCAA Southern California Regional Final playoff game in Mission Viejo pits ELAC against the Southern Regional bracket's No. 1-seed Saddleback.
Saddleback has three states titles to its credit and currently has a 23-game win streak.
ELAC just won its second South Coast Conference title in three years and reached the playoffs four consecutive years, from 2012-13 to the current 2015-16 season, under Mosley.
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia