GLENDORA, CA — The state’s No. 8-ranked East Los Angeles College men’s basketball team (6-0) defeated Cuesta College (6-3) 85-80 and won the 11th Annual Neil Edwards Classic at Citrus College.
No. 15 San Diego City College (7-1) defeated Citrus College (5-4) in the Consolation Championship game. Victor Valley College (3-5) won the Third Place game 87-84 against Moorpark College (4-5).
ELAC defeated Moorpark 81-64 Saturday night and Orange Coast College 71-46 on Friday.
Three Huskies were named to the Classic All-Tournament team. Sophomore guards Iziahiah Sweeney (Compton High School), Miles Ford (Alhambra HS) and sophomore forward Richard Bivens (Bakersfield Ridgeview HS) who was also named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Bivens scored 45 tournament points and had 30 total rebounds. He had double-doubles against Cuesta (22 points, 10 rebounds) and Moorpark (15 points, 13 rebounds).
Sweeny scored 37 total points and had 10 tournament rebounds and 10 assists. Ford scored 30 total points and had eight assists and six steals.
Against Cuesta, Ford opened up the scoring with a three-point shot to give ELAC a 3-0 lead 36 seconds into the game.
Cuesta answered with two three-point shots, one by sophomore guard Benat Hevia (San Sebastian, Spain Usandizaga HS) and Rafael Eleftheriou (Limassol, Cyprus Mandoulides HS) to give the Cougars their only lead, 6-5, with 17:57 remaining in the half.
Bivens followed with a three-point jump shot and less than five minutes later ELAC had its first double-digit lead. The Huskies held double-digit leads for most of the game including a 16-point lead in each half.
The Huskies led 44-28 with 1:21 remaining in the first half off a jump shot by freshman forward Chima Wami (Santiago HS). ELAC led 78-62 with 5:45 left in the game after freshman forward Zeno Lake (Compton HS) connected on two free throws.
Cuesta, who has wins against No. 18 Fullerton College (71-62) and No. 19 El Camino College Compton Center (76-53), had a furious rally that included ELAC’s offense sputtering with five turnovers, shooting a dismal 1-for-7 from the free throw line and missing 4-of-7 shots.
Cuesta pulled within two points, 82-80, with 36 seconds left in the game after consecutive three-point shots from sophomore guard Daniel Solis (Pittsburgh, PA Concord HS) and Eleftheriou.
ELAC responded with controlling the ball 24 of the remaining 36 seconds and the boards outscoring Cuesta 3-0 to close out with the win. The Huskies avenged last year’s Classic Championship 64-61 loss to Cuesta.
ELAC meets Ventura College (4-3) on Friday at 1 p.m. in the Gregg Anderson Memorial Tournament at Antelope Valley College and could see No. 2 San Bernardino College (9-0) in the semifinals.
Cuesta meets San Diego City in the opening round of the 4th Annual Grossmont College Tournament Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. in El Cajon.
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia