East Los Angeles College’s men’s and women’s basketball teams have both advanced to the California Community College Athletic Association state championships with wins last weekend.
The men’s team held off second seed El Camino Compton Center, 83-80 in the third round of the Southern California Regional Playoffs March 4 to advance to the CCCAA State Championships for the second time in three years.
The Huskies (23-6), who are also in the Elite Eight for the third consecutive season, are the third seed from Southern California and play Feather River College (25-3), the North two seed, at 3 p.m. March 9 at Las Positas College in Livermore.
The women defeated Pasadena City College, 70-64 in overtime, March 4 to advance to the state championships.
ELAC plays College of the Siskiyous (29-1) at 3 p.m. March 10. Siskiyous has won 27 straight since losing to Sierra nearly four months ago.
The women used a 9-0 run to break open a tight game with Pasadena in the third meeting between the SCC North rivals this season. Monica Garcia’s layup gave the Huskies a 49-38 lead with 6:50 left in the fourth quarter.
But the Lancers, who were overwhelmed in the fourth quarter of their previous game with the Huskies (a 78-49 loss), chipped away and tied it, 53-53, with 1:11 left on two free throws by Jolene Robinson.
With 20 seconds remaining, Robinson fought through the paint and laid it off the glass but her shot attempt spun off the front of the rim and the game went to overtime.
In overtime, Pasadena briefly took the lead on a free throw by Kandace Payne, 54-53. From that point on, it was the Huskies’ Gomez who sank three jumpers and was 8-for-9 from the line that turned things back to ELAC’s favor. Gomez finished with a game-high 27 points.
Garcia finished the game with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Farrah Castillo scored eight points and had four assists, and Wuanyei Ah-Hing had eight points. Gloria Ortiz came off the bench to handle eight rebounds and add four points. Garcia and Ah-Hing did not start the game.
In the men’s game, Compton (27-5) led early and built an 18-9 lead. ELAC got its first lead, 36-35, with 13 seconds left in the half. Compton’s Jayvon Brown scored a three-pointer10 seconds later, and the Tartars led 38-36 at the break.
With the score tied, 48-48 five minutes into the second half, ELAC went on a 16-4 run and led 62-52 five minutes later, ending with a dunk from Roderick Williams, the Huskies’ University of Texas at El Paso-bound forward.
Compton chipped away at the lead and pulled to within 73-72, with 2:22 left in the game on free throws by Alonzo Taylor. ELAC answered with a 5-0 run and led 78-72 with 1:06 remaining.
But Compton which leads, or is ranked No. 2, in the state in seven categories, including points per game (94.5), wasn’t finished. The Tartars used an 8-3 run to reduce their deficit to 81-80, with seven seconds left.
ELAC’s Frank Bertz swished two free throws to extend the lead to the final margin of victory with five seconds left and Brown missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it at the buzzer.
Fans and cheerleaders stormed the court in celebration. Williams tried to hold back tears.
Williams scored a team-high 25 points that included three dunks, Bertz scored 18 and Sequan added 15.