COMPTON, CA — Southern California Regional No. 10-seeded East Los Angeles College Huskies (23-6) won 83-80 at No. 2-seeded ECC Compton Center (27-5) in the third round of the CCCAA Men’s Basketball playoffs.
The No. 18-state ranked Huskies advance to the Men's Basketball Championships for the second time in three years. The Huskies are Elite Eight bound for the third consecutive year. Compton (27-5) finishes its season No. 5-ranked. The Tartars were ranked No. 1 during the first week of February.
“We knew it was going to be a battle. They are a good team,” said ELAC Head Coach John Mosley. “They lead the state in steals, but our sophomores stepped up and (had) unselfish poise down the stretch.”
Compton leads, or is ranked No. 2, in seven statewide stat categories, including points per game (94.5), total rebounds (46.2), offensive rebounds (16.8) and assists (20.8 per game).
The Huskies held the Tartars to 80 points, Compton’s lowest score in 27 games, out rebounded Compton 48-38, matched them in assists with 18 each, and had 15 offensive rebounds to Compton’s 16, the most assists for ELAC since Feb. 8.
Compton led in the beginning of the game and built an 18-9 lead at the 12:17 mark. ELAC got its first lead, 36-35, with 13 seconds left in the half. Compton sophomore guard Jayvon Brown (Inglewood HS) scored a 3-point swish 10 seconds later, and the Tartars led 38-36 at the break.
The second half opened with three ties, the latter 48-48 with 14:37 remaining in the game. ELAC went on an 16-4 run and led 62-52 five minutes later, ending with a dunk from the University of Texas at El Paso bound ELAC forward Roderick Williams (Price HS).
Compton chipped at the lead and came within one point, down 73-72, with 2:22 left in the game from two free throws by sophomore guard Alonzo Taylor (Lakewood HS). Taylor was 4-for-4 from the line. ELAC scored five consecutive points and led 78-72 with 1:06 remaining.
A Tartar 8-3 run pulled them within one, down 81-80, with seven seconds left. ELAC freshman guard Frank Bertz (Sultana HS) pumped in two free throws, which hit nothing but net with five seconds left. Brown missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The large ELAC contingent drowned out the home crowd with the win and Williams followed with “tears of joy.”
“They were tears of joy and happiness for the win, which we did together,” said Williams. “Thank you to the coaches who work us so hard, and the ELAC fans and cheerleaders who came out (in) big (numbers) tonight.”
Three Huskies scored in double figures, Williams scored a team-high 25 points that included three dunks, Bertz scored 18 and sophomore guard Sequan Walker (Long Beach Cabrillo HS) scored 15. Sophomore guard Zeno Lake (Compton HS) had a team-high nine rebounds for ELAC, Williams had eight as did sophomore forward Chima Wami (Corona Santiago HS).
Compton sophomore forward Anthony Fitzpatrick (Upland HS) had a double double with a game-high 27 points and 13 rebounds. He had six steals. Sophomore guard Michael Chavers (Locke HS) scored in double digits with 14 as did sophomore guard Kyvonte Davis (Palmdale HS) with 10. Sophomore DaJion Henderson (Crenshaw HS) had eight rebounds.
In the State Championship Bracket, ELAC, the No. 3 seed from SoCal, will meet Feather River College (25-3) the No. 2-seed from NorCal, at Las Positas College on Thursday March 12 at 3 p.m. Feather River defeated Las Positas (22-8) 101-95 tonight in the Northern Regional Bracket.
ELAC enters the game with an 8-game win streak; Feather River winning 13 in a row. The teams have one common opponent, Allan Hancock College, which ELAC beat 86-58 on Jan. 6 and Feather River defeated 75-68 on Nov. 11.
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia