Men's Basketball Week Roundup: Huskies Go 3-0, Up Win Streak to 12.
by Cerwin D Haynes
(photos by Stephen Morales)
As teams and conferences continue to figure out how to navigate this season with COVID-19, it has created - in many cases - a starker divide between the haves and have-nots. The South Coast Conference-North this season unfortunately is squarely in the latter: a -1.20 rating places them last among all the SoCal conferences.
East LA College - one of the two "haves" within the SCC-North - can't count on strength of schedule alone to bolster their playoff seeding as they continue conference play this month. So they must follow the eternal words of one Al Davis: "Just win, baby!"
Thankfully, Coach Mosley's young men have done just that - netting three wins this week in dominant fashion as part of a 12-game win streak as the Huskies trek deeper into conference play.
Feb 2: Huskies 77, Mounties 57
ELAC (ranked #8 in state) hosted the other "have" in the conference, Mt. San Antonio College (#22), in a big rivalry showdown that packed the stands in the "E-rena". In the first half, neither team shot well - 32% for the visitors, 34.4% for the home Green. But the Huskies forced the Mounties into 16 turnovers in the half while shooting 12-16 from the free throw line, grinding out a 36-27 halftime lead. Tyrelle Hunt lead ELAC with eight points in the half.
In the second half, Mt. SAC initially looked like they would continue to keep trek with ELAC as a Jamal Edmonson layup trimmed the East La lead to seven with 16:53 to go. But they'd get no closer; the Huskies began to put their paws down and took control, outscoring the visitors 34-14 over the next 13 and a half minutes to put the game out of reach. Although mostly collaborative effort, one could argue that it was reserve F JT Langston who helped the Pack finish off their visitors from Walnut. He would score 10 of his team-high 14 points during those 13-plus minutes by feasting inside the paint, slipping by defenders on his drives to the rack and getting to the free throw line, making four of five from the stripe. In fact, it was a Langston dunk off a feed from Dezmond Washington that pumped the score to 75-38 with 3:19 left.
The Huskies (18-4, 3-0) shot nearly 52% from the field while holding the Mounties (13-5, 2-1) to about 38% during the latter half. Starter Cory Cofield had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds while adding a couple of blocked shots. Tyrelle Hunt (10 points) and Jon Sanders (11 points) also scored in double-digits in the win.
Feb 4: Huskies 88, Roadrunners 69 (the 60-FWY Showdown Part 1)
If there's such a thing as a 19-point victory not quite reflecting the story of a game, it would be this instance. Consider:
- ELAC and Rio Hondo were playing the first of a rare back-to-back, home-and-home series. The two teams would play each other in Whittier the next day thanks to Covid forcing a rescheduling of the January 19th game.
- Perhaps not wanting to overextend his starters on a back-to-back this late in the season, head coach John Mosley elected to start the game with his reserves. DJ Gilmore, Demetrius Calip, Richard Wilson, Idrissa Sow and Christian Oliver all got the starting nod.
- It was also plausible that Coach Mosley, facing a one-win Roadrunners team with only five active players, saw a prime opportunity to give his deep bench starters' minutes in the first half as a way to showcase his subs to potential four-year recruiters.
Going with strictly reserves in the first half, the Huskies offense was more perimeter-oriented as they shot an unorthodox 14 attempts from behind the arc, making six. Rio valiantly kept pace, shooting 7-15 from downtown. Yet, the Huskies would enter the halftime with a 38-33 lead. Freshman G Shemar Marrow came off the bench blistering, hitting 5-7 from the field including 2-3 from three. His 12 points led the Huskies at intermission. Sebastian Lara nailed four of his seven treys for Rio and had 12 at the half as well.
The second half saw more traditional play for the home Green as Coach Mosley turned to his actual starters and normal bench rotation. The result was what one would expect: less threes, more inside work as East LA (19-4, 4-0) shot 64.5% from the field leading to 50 points in the period while holding Rio Hondo (1-17, 0-2) to 38.7% shooting and 36 points. The Huskies were able to unleash 7'1 C Bryan Penn-Johnson on the Roadrunners; he feasted inside on a variety of post moves and dunks, hitting all seven of his shots in the half and a perfect 9-9 on the night for a 21-point, six-rebound outing in just 16 minutes of play (with two blocks to boot). G Cory Cofield scored 10 points in the half on 4-5 shooting, while lead G Justin Gladney tallied five assists in just 13 minutes of court action.
Feb 5: Huskies 112, Roadrunners 60 (the 60-FWY Showdown Part 2)
The move to keep his starters fresh for this second game of the back-to-back paid off in spades as Mosley's crew dominated from start to finish.
- Christian Oliver, a 6'11 freshman forward out of Maranatha, got 18 minutes of play in the home win over Rio Hondo. He had eight points, three rebounds and a block while flashing range from outside, hitting a three in the first half.
- DJ Gilmore, a 5'9 lead guard out of Lawndale, also acquitted himself well in his extended minutes against Rio. Eight points on 3-4 shooting (2-2 from three), four assists and three steals in 21 minutes of game action.
The load will temporarily lighten a bit for the Huskies as they play just one game this upcoming week, hosting the Trade Tech Beavers on Wednesday, February 9th at 5pm.
Fans are allowed: tickets are $5 at the door. The game will be broadcasted live on SportsNetUSA.net.