by Cerwin D. Haynes
(photo by Tadzio Garcia)
In what's become a sort of a signature for this season, the East Los Angeles Huskies put together yet another dominant second half performance to defeat their opponent. Outscoring the Rio Hondo Roadrunners by 26 points in the final 20 minutes, ELAC blew away their SCC North rivals 107-79. Super-sub Joseph Hampton came off the bench to lead all scorers with 24 points on 11 of 15 shooting. Guard Deshaun Highler scored 22 points and was dead-eye all evening, making eight of his 10 shots and six of seven from three-point range.
The first half of this one saw ELAC (23-1, 4-0) make two-thirds of its shot attempts along with five three point makes; conversely, Rio Hondo (3-21, 0-4) shot only 41.5%. With such a disparity in shooting one would think that the Huskies had an easy first 20 minutes, but that was far from the case. One reason was that Rio attempted 14 more shots than ELAC (due to a combination of eight offensive rebounds and eight Husky turnovers), and another reason was Roadrunner guard Bryant Howing, who scored 16 of his 21 points in the first half (12 of those 16 by way of the three-ball). A high-scoring first half saw East head to halftime with only a 47-45 lead.
One would suspect Huskies head coach John Mosley to get his team to refocus for the second half, and that's exactly what they did.
A Levelle Zeigler layup sparked an 11-0 ELAC run within the first three and a half minutes of the second period to boost the Huskies' lead to 58-45. Rio would respond with a 9-2 spurt that brought them back within six with 15 minutes to go. But despite keeping up their marksmenship from outside the arc, they would get no closer. A Malik Muhammed free throw make at 9:56 left gave East a 74-66, and they would go on to outscore Rio Hondo 33-16 for the rest of the game.
- ELAC leading scorer Kealen Allen was perfect from the field, shooting 5-5 and hitting both his free throw attempts for 12 points total.
- After only shooting 3-13 from three-point land in their win against Mt. SAC, the Huskies found their stroke again from deep, nailing 11 of 21 from behind the arc (52.4%).
- Center Malik Muhammed was very active defensively down low and out on the perimeter, blocking a Roadrunner step-back three-point attempt during the first half. He finished with 11 rebounds and two blocks to go along with his nine points. Highler also had two blocks of his own, including a nasty perimeter swat that sent the ball into the stands.
- Huskies outshot Roadrunners in the second half in accuracy (71.4% to 30.8%) and volume (25/35 FGs to 8/26 FGs).
- ELAC goes into DTLA this Friday for a rematch with LA Trade Tech (14-10, 3-1) at 7pm. East only has a one-game lead in conference play over Trade, so a win Friday would put the Huskies firmly in the driver's seat for another conference title and a first-round bye in the CCCAA playoffs.