The Huskies opened the six-team, round-robin Citrus College Invitational Tournament against last season’s state runner-up, survived the test, and meet No. 8 Citrus College tomorrow at 3 p.m.
“It was nerve wracking the last several minutes because it was so close,” said Bell. “They chipped away at the lead and they got as close as one point, but we pushed it back to three, five and then six points for the win.”
The Huskies turned a six-point 30-24 halftime lead into a 10-point margin, a minute and seven seconds into the second half. ELAC led 36-26 with 18:53 left in the game. Fullerton freshman forward Vaj Rice made a 3-point jump shot to pull the Hornets within five, down 47-42, with 8:16 remaining in the game.
Fullerton pulled within one point of the Huskies, down 52-51, off two free throws from sophomore center Ronne Readus with 2:51 left in the game. The Huskies responded with two swishes at the line from freshman guard Abdul Bah (Narbonne HS) and led 54-51 at the 2:25 mark. Rice hit two free throws for Fullerton and ELAC led 54-53 with 1:49 left in the game.
The Huskies closed the game with a 5-0 run for the win, during which they shot 5-of-6 free throws and outrebounded Fullerton 3-1 with a key offensive rebound.
The game began with two ties and six lead changes, the latter, an ELAC 20-18 lead with 6:59 left in the first half from Bah’s jump shot assisted by freshman center Solomon Hunt (Upland HS). ELAC did not relinquish its lead, which reached as high as 10 points on three different occasions.
ELAC sophomore guard Frank Bertz (Sultana HS) scored a game-high 17 points. Freshman Jacob Tryon (Great Oak HS) scored 13 points for the Huskies and had a game-high three blocked shots. Two other Huskies had a blocked shot each, Hunt and freshman guard Nick Hart (West Covina HS). Bah came off the bench for ELAC and connected on eight points. Fullerton sophomore guard Jason Richardson (Junipero Serra HS) led the Hornets in scoring with 16 points.
The Huskies outrebounded Fullerton 40-35 and their 16 offensive rebounds were key in the win.
The Huskies continue play in the Citrus Tourney with a game against host and No. 8 Citrus College (7-2) on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. and they play Southwestern College (2-6) on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m.
Citrus College is located at 1000 W. Foothill Blvd. in Glendora, CA 91741.
With little break, the Huskies continue play four days after their Citrus run in the Riverside City College Holiday Classic. ELAC opens play with a game versus Mt. San Jacinto College (5-6) on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. Mt. San Jacinto has a two-game win streak, which includes an 89-86 win against No. 4 Santiago College (9-2) and 75-74 win against No. 9 Copper Mountain (9-2).
Follow ELAC Athletics at http://athletics.elac.edu/landing/index and ELAC Huskies Athletics on Facebook.
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia