By Cerwin D. Haynes
(photos by Valerie Meulenberg)
With the score knotted at 40 entering the fourth quarter, the East Los Angeles Huskies saw another opportunity to pull out another close victory - their trademark so far this season. Using a full court trap on defense and a fast break driving offense, ELAC (13-4) outscored El Camino (7-9) 19-10 in the final frame to win their first game of 2020, 59-50. Delilah Kimble-Gray led all scorers with 25 points and added 10 rebounds with a team-high five assists, while Maria Martinez chipped in with 13 points and three steals.
The Huskies began the game by establishing themselves on both sides of the ball. The first quarter saw ELAC shoot over 47% from the field compared to 40% for the Warriors, leading El Camino by 10 at the end of the period. In the second quarter, the Huskies offense generated open shots but the team went cold (2-16). The Warriors took advantage, shooting 50% from the field to send ELAC into halftime with only a three-point lead 27-24. This trend continued into the third quarter as El Camino took the lead, which forced Huskies head coach Bruce Turner to call timeout to remind his women of their defensive identity.
East Los Angeles would respond: with the Warriors up 40-38 in the waning seconds of the third, Kimble-Gray drove to the basket for a tough lay-in to tie the game at 40. Early on in the fourth quarter, Alexis Bonner converted a lay-in to once again give the Huskies the lead at 42-40. A Jaidin Lacount layup pushed the lead to four, but Warriors' baskets by Jessie Hoffsmith and Alexia Mason tied the score again at 44. Both teams traded baskets for a bit before the Huskies finally grinded away control. Pressuring the ball, ELAC stole the ball on three straight El-Co possessions and scored two layups and a short jumper to take a 52-46 lead with 2:06 left. Warriors' guard Ashley Ngyuen converted a layup to draw El-Co within four, but they would get no closer: ELAC's defense and free throw makes iced the game.
- El Camino would outshoot ELAC for the game 47.8% to 36.1%. Both teams made 22 field goals, but the Huskies forced 20 Warrior turnovers which helped them take 15 more shots.
- ELAC coverted 12-19 from the free throw line, compared to El-Co only making three of seven attempts from the stripe.
- The Huskies' final field goal was a thing of beauty: forcing a steal, Joann Rivera threw a perfect touchdown-like pass downcourt to sophomore Citlaly Davalos. She caught the ball over-the-shoulder like a streaking wideout in stride, scored the layup and was fouled. This drew the approval of ELAC football head coach Bobby Godinez who was in attendance.
ELAC will hit the road next week with a Wednesday matchup with the Cerritos Falcons. Tip-off down in Cerritos scheduled for 6pm.