by Cerwin D. Haynes
(photos by Tadzio Garcia)
Entering tonight's game tied for third in the State rankings, the East Los Angeles College Huskies began their conference schedule with high expectations. And they didn't disappoint in this one, as they landed a decisive 98-77 victory over city rival LA Trade Tech. Huskies' leading scorer Kealen Allen did what he's wont to do: dominate down low to get baskets, rebounds, and draw fouls (26 points on nine field goal attempts, 14 rebounds). Lead guard Levelle Zeigler had 10 points with a game-high seven assists, while Kristopher Smith (who came off the bench early for ELAC) poured in 17 points, six boards and three steals.
It's been noted that ELAC has typically started their home games slowly, often falling behind early before finding their groove. That wasn't the case tonight: the Huskies established control early, building a 14-point lead within the first 10 minutes of the game. The Beavers of Trade Tech would respond, however, with a 10-3 soring advantage over the next three minutes to close within 28-21. ELAC would then respond, building a 23-9 adavnatge over the final seven minutes of the period to go into halftime with a 53-30 lead.
The Beavers - to their credit - refused to let the Huskies rout them throughout all of the second half. Amping up their intensity on both sides of the ball, they induced plenty of ELAC turnovers and consistently drove the ball into the paint to draw fouls (to wit: Huskies center Mailk Muhammed fouled out wiith five points, five rebounds and a block). A layup by LATTC's Nicholas Bates skimmed ELAC's lead down to 12 with 8:49 to go in the game, and some wondered if ELAC would respond to the increased pressure the Beavers were exerting. And they would: as the game turned into a free throw contest within the next four minutes, the Huskies would push the lead back upward. A pair of Zeigler free throws and a Deshaun Highler three-ball gave ELAC a 17-point lead. A Winston Jones three-pointer chipped the Huskies lead back down to 13, but Kristopher Smith answered with his own three-pointer to give ELAC 78-62 lead. The Beavers would not threaten the lead any further, punctuated by Marquis Copeland's dunk to give the Huskies a 96-72 lead with 1:47 left.
- The Huskies, not known for their three-point shooting (in terms of volume), buried nine of 16 attempts from beyond the arc. Reserve Kristopher Smith hit on three of his five three-point attempts.
- Trade Tech guard Mark Chin lead all scorers with 32 points to go with nine rebounds, six assists and five steals. His efforts kept ELAC from pulling away through most of the second half.
- Head Coach John Mosley used tonight to give his bench plenty of floor time. Eight Huskies' reserves made it into the game and all contributed in various categories.
- The Huskies will take the weekend off (or not, depending on how Coach Mosley decides the use the time) before returning to action next Wednesday against Pasadena City at 7pm.