M. Basketball: Falcons win consolation title at tournament

Falcons win consolation title at Sequoias
Falcons win consolation title at Sequoias

Competing in the College of the Sequoias Tournament, the Cerritos College men's basketball team won two of three games to capture the consolation championship. The Falcons (11-3) opened with a 76-67 win over Shasta College before a 80-69 setback against Fresno City College dropped them into the consolation finals. They responded with a 76-67 win over Ventura College, which avenged a loss to the Pirates earlier in the season at the Irvine Valley Tournament. Cerritos will play their home opener on Friday at 6:00 p.m. against Rio Hondo College in a South Coast Conference crossover game.

Cerritos vs. Shasta: The tournament opened with the Knights (7-6) scoring the first six points before the Falcons responded with a 14-1 run to take a 14-7 lead. During that streak, freshman Christian Alvis (Whittier Christian HS) drained a pair of three-pointers, while sophomore Jason Carter (View Park HS/Santa Monica College) scored six points. Trailing 40-39 at halftime, both teams saw the lead change hands four times before Cerritos slowly started to open up a lead. David O'Brien gave Shasta a 55-50 lead with 14:37 remaining in the second half, but the Falcons kept them off the board for the next 4:10. During that span, sophomore Demetrius Thomas (Bassick, CT HS/Porterville College) scored seven points, including a three-pointer, as Cerritos pulled out to a 63-55 lead. It was a 63-62 game with 6:23 left, but a pair of baskets from Thomas and sophomore Keshaun Mack (Long Beach Jordan HS/Antelope Valley College) made it a 73-62 lead the Falcons would not surrender. Thomas (10-of-15 FG) led all scorers with 24 points and added 11 rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots, with Alvis adding 13 points with a trio of three-pointers. Carter (10 points, four rebounds) and Mack (eight points) also played well.

Cerritos vs. Fresno City: It took 3:41 for anyone to score, but once the scoring started, it was a tight battle from start to finish. The Falcons held a lead midway through the first half but saw the Rams pull out to a 24-17 lead after a 7-0 run. Cerritos trailed by 11 (36-25) late in the first half until they scored the final five points to finish the first 20 minutes down by six points. They got as close as three points early in the second half. but couldn't overcome their deficit and suffered the loss. Fresno City was deadly from long range, as they netted 10 three-pointers, while Cerritos was 3-of-14 from long range. Sophomore Jonathan Guzman (Paramount HS) came off the bench to lead the team with 17 points, along with six rebounds, while Thomas (13 points, nine rebounds), Carter (13 points, six rebounds, five assists) and Mack (12 points) all scored in double-figures.

Cerritos vs. Ventura: Thomas recorded his second double-double of the tournament, as he finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds (seven offensive) to go along with four steals and three assists in a winning cause. He opened the game with a steal and dunk, which set the tone for the rematch. The Falcons scored the first eight points and led the majority of the game. They held off a late Ventura rally that saw them take a 48-46 lead with 13:42 left in the second half. The Pirates lead didn't last long, as freshman Cody Wilkes (La Mirada HS) came right back and hit his first of three consecutive three-pointers. But once Ventura regained the lead, it was Thomas who got it back for Cerritos after he drained a pair of free throws and then added a dunk for a 59-57 lead with 8:43 left. That sparked a 6-0 run, which put the Falcons up, 65-57. Wilkes netted a pair of free throws to make it a 70-67 lead with 2:36 remaining, which the team would not relinquish. Wilkes finished with 11 points and five rebounds, with Alvis and Mack both posting 12 points. The balanced attack continued with Guzman going 5-for-5 from the field and added 10 points and five rebounds.