by Cerwin D. Haynes
(photos by Tadzio Garcia)
Zeigler, who wasn't pleased with his shooting performance against Cerritos, bounced back with an excellent game: 22 points on 9-14 shooting to go with five rebounds and five assists. Allen was a beast on the boards, snagging 20 rebounds to go along with 15 points. Guard Deshaun Highler also had 15 points; he made a three-pointer at the buzzer to end the first half and tie up the score at 39.
This first half of this game had a bit of deja vu in relation to the last game against the Falcons: the Huskies (11-1) started the game a bit sluggish with their offensive execution, fell behind early, but found their footing late in the first half. Citrus (6-6) led 30-20 with a little over 7 minutes to play in the first half when ELAC finally made their move: a 6-0 run cut the deficit to four and then, with Citrus leading 34-28, a 7-0 run would give ELAC a one-point lead with 2:24 left in the half. Citrus would again retake the lead, and held a 39-36 advantage into the final seconds. With three seconds left, Highler rose from around NBA three-point range to drill the long J as the buzzer sounded to end the half.
The second half would see the Owls retake a three-point lead at 44-41. But then it became the Levelle Zeigler Show: after two Kealen Allen free throws, Zeigler would re-enter the game and spark a 13-2 spurt for the home Huskies. He converted a layup, hit a jumper, tossed an assist to a Jordan Polynice layup, and bury a three-ball. He would return to the bench with the Huskies up eight, 54-46 with 10:44 left in the game. But Citrus would answer with a 7-0 run to close within a point at the 8:28 mark.
After trading layups, the Huskies put together another good stretch - an 8-0 run to push the lead to nine, 64-55, with 5:15 left in the game. The Huskies would go up by 10, 68-58, when the Owls would respond with one more 7-0 run to cut the ELAC lead to three. Citrus' Tyree Winborn would rebound a Husky missed shot, but Taj Regans would immediately steal it. He passes to Jordan Polynice, who finds big man Malik Muhammed cutting to the rim for a big-time flush. ELAC would lead 70-65 with 1:41 remaining. A pair of free throws by Toby Okwuokei would trim the lead back down to three, but ELAC would milk the clock enough on their possession to force Citrus to foul and stop the clock at 51 seconds left. Kealan Allen calmly made both free throws and Citrus would not threaten again.
- Citrus had four offensive rebounds within game's first three minutes. ELAC returned the favor at the start of second half by collecting three offensive boards within 90 seconds.
- Kealen Allen's 20-rebound effort sparked the Huskies advantage on the boards, especially in the second half. ELAC doubled up Citrus on the glass with a 26-13 rebounding advantage (47 to 33 rebound advantage for the entire game).
- The Owls attempted half their shots from downtown (31 of their 62 FG attempts). They only made seven threes, going 3-17 during the second half.
- Huskies shot over 75% from the foul line. They made 25 of 33 attempts while Citrus only converted 16 of 25 from the line.
- The East Los Angeles women's basketball team were in attendence (pictured above).
A ten-day Christmas break for the Huskies' men. Then they'll head down to El Cajon for the Cuyamaca Classic from December 28th to the 30th.