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East Los Angeles College guard Issac Etter grabs a rebound over taller defenders against Riverside City College on Dec. 9. (Photo by Tadzio Garcia)
East Los Angeles College guard Issac Etter grabs a rebound over taller defenders against Riverside City College on Dec. 9. (Photo by Tadzio Garcia)

Huskies Take Second Place at Riverside Holiday Classic

RIVERSIDE, CA —  The East Los Angeles College men’s basketball team is the runner-up in the 46th Annual Riverside City College Holiday Classic after a 72-63 loss in the championship game in Wheelock Gymnasium.

“This tournament is always one of the top tournaments in the state of California and also in the country,” said ELAC Coach John Mosley. “Riverside is a good team. They came in the season Top-10. Regardless of their losses they have great players and great coaching and I expect to see them deep in the playoffs as well.”

ELAC was the runner-up in the tournament four years ago and Riverside last won its own tourney when they won the CCCAA State Championship in 2009.

No. 1 state-ranked San Bernardino Valley College (12-1) won 86-57 against Compton College (2-7) in the third-place game and No. 17 Fullerton College (9-4) defeated Pasadena City College (5-5) 71-57 in the consolation championship game.

During the tournament, No. 9 ELAC (9-3) handed San Bernardino (12-1) its first loss of the season 77-52 in the semifinals and defeated a tough Mt. San Jacinto (5-9) squad 79-61 in the opening round.

Two ELAC sophomores were named to the All-Tournament Team for stellar tournament play, guard Frank Bertz (Sultana High School) and sophomore forward Roderick Williams (Price HS).

There were five lead changes and three ties today, the latter 28-all when Bertz made a 3-point jump shot with three minutes remaining in the half. Riverside lead 34-28 at the break then increased its lead to as much as 21 points, 66-45, with 7:08 left in the game. ELAC closed the contest on an 18-6 run.

The Huskies were outrebounded 44-35 and Riverside’s hot shooting included 12 three-point shots. The Tigers outscored the Huskies from beyond the arc 24-12.

“We just have to get better,” said Mosley. “We are a team with good size so we have to understand how to play better defense and guard the 3-ball. It’s something we didn’t do well with today, guard the 3’s nor did we rebound well.”

The Huskies were led by Bertz who netted 20 points. Williams followed with 19 points and nine rebounds. Bertz’s tournament totals included 45 points, 15 rebounds and six assists. Williams totaled 63 points, 15 rebounds and eight steals.

Freshman forward Jacob Tryon (Great Oak HS) scored 38 total tournament points and had a tournament-high eight blocked shots. Freshman center Solomon Hunt (Upland HS) had a team-high 19 tournament rebounds and freshman guard Nick Hart (West Covina HS) totaled a team-high 15 assists.

The Tigers were led today by sophomore forward Kane Daniels who scored a game-high 23 points that included 21 points from 3-pointers. Tiger freshman forward Jordan Robinson had a double double with 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.

ELAC next competes in the Cuyamaca College Tournament, Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 28-30. The Huskies open against Cypress College (4-6), who has a three-game win streak, on Dec. 28 at 1 p.m.

Cuyamaca College is located at 900 Rancho San Diego Pkwy, El Cajon, CA 92019.

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story submitted by Tadzio Garcia