W. Basketball: Outside shooting leads Falcons to playoff win

Jesenia Rendon scored a game-high 27 points to lead the Falcons
Jesenia Rendon scored a game-high 27 points to lead the Falcons

Led by sophomore Jesenia Rendon (Carson HS) and her 27 points, the Cerritos College women's basketball team picked up a 72-61 Southern California Regional Playoff win over visiting Citrus College on Wednesday night. The Falcons (21-10), seeded #16 for the postseason, connected on 11 three-pointers in posting the 1st Round win. The road gets much tougher in the 2nd Round, as Cerritos will now travel to take on Moorpark (29-1), who's seeded #1 in Southern California and ranked #1 in the state.

In building a 62-41 lead with 7:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, Cerritos used five three-pointers from Jesenia Rendon, the South Coast Conference Player of the Year, while twin sister Serena Rendon (Carson HS) connected on a trio of three-pointers, including the one that gave the team their largest lead. But a shooting slump allowed the #17-seeded Owns (18-11) to get to within 10 points (62-52) with 3:26 left on the clock after a Diana Navarro three-pointer. The 0-for-6 shooting drought by the Falcons during that span allowed Citrus to get back into the game.

Sophomore center Carolina Cuevas (Legacy HS) ended the spell when she rebounded a missed layup and converted one of her own to put the Falcons up, 64-52. Continuing to take shots from the outside, one finally fell for Jesenia Rendon with 1:47 left to put Cerritos up 67-54 and all but secure the win.

Four different players hit three-pointers for the Falcons, who also used a strong transition game to make the most of the 16 Citrus turnovers. Cerritos picked up 25 points off those miscues, including a three-point play from freshman Jade Johnson (City of Angels HS), who stole the ball and went the length of the court to get the bucket and draw a foul in the second quarter the Falcons up, 26-21.

In addition to her 27 points, Jesenia Rendon also dished out six assists and pulled down six rebounds, with Cuevas leading the team with nine caroms to go along with her eight points. Serena Rendon added 15 points, four rebounds and three assists, while sophomore guard Lynette Garcia (Downey HS/Park, MO University) posted nine points and seven rebounds in the win. Sophomore Jessica Gomez (Legacy HS), who drained a pair of three-pointers, added eight points and four steals. Navarro led the Owls with 26 points.

Photos by Daryl Peterson