Continuing their fast start to the season, the Cerritos College men's basketball team posted three wins over the weekend to capture the Grossmont Tournament championship. Tha Falcons (7-1) have now won two tournament championships this season and will play a single game at Allan Hancock on Saturday. After that, the team will travel to the College of the Sequoias Tournament, where they will play three more games.
Cerritos vs. Grossmont: The Falcons opened the tournament with a convincing 81-43 win over the host Griffins. Early in the game, Cerritos held Grossmont without a point for over six minutes, which helped them pull out to a 15-8 advantage. The lead moved to double digits (28-16) after a Jamal Heckard (Carson HS/El Camino College) three-pointer, and it was a 39-24 advantage at intermission. By the second half, the fast-paced offense of Cerritos enabled them to secure the win. Sophomore Cody Wilkes (La Mirada HS) accounted for 18 points, with freshman Chance Hunter (Inglewood HS) going for 12 points and freshman Jeremiah Galang (Narbonne HS) being entered into the starting lineup to produce 10 points. Freshman center Daelyn Bams (Villa Park HS) pulled down 10 rebounds to go with his six points and three blocked shots, with sophomore Tawon Elston (Roosevelt HS) coming off the bench to post eight points, as did sophomore Dezmon Murphy (La Mirada HS).
Cerritos vs. Palomar: It was Elston who provided a spark off the bench, as he scored a team-high 17 points in the 61-45 win over the Comets. Opening the game by allowing the first seven points, Cerritos was able to tie the game at 21-21 by intermission. It took the Falcons over four minutes to score in the second half, which allowed Palomar to take a 32-21 lead before Elston scored the team's next five points. A layup by Elston with 14:11 left allowed Cerritos to draw even at 32-32, while Elston tied it again at 38-38 with a three pointer. Murphy converted one of two free throws with 10:49 left to give the Falcons a 39-38 lead they would not give up. A put-back layup by Elston, followed by a dunk from Bams turned the momentum around in the game, and when Murphy drained a three-pointer, Cerritos was on their way to the win. Murphy (11 points, eight rebounds) and Wilkes (10 points, six rebounds, three steals) helped in the cause. Bams finished with seven points and 10 rebounds.
Cerritos vs. San Diego City: Taking on last year's state runner-up, the Falcons battled back to record an 80-75 win, which was their second straight come-from-behind win. Tournament MVP Elston scored a team-high 21 points, as the Cerritos bench contributed 56 points in the victory. Another player off the bench, Hunter was named All-Tournament after producing 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Down 45-38 early in the second half, Heckard drained a pair of free throws followed by a basket from sophomore Darryl McMillon, Jr. (View Park Prep HS). The Falcons then saw themselves trailing by 10 points (55-45), before Elston brought the team back with his hot hand. A three-pointer got the comeback started and when he hit another long-range jumper with 8:45 left, Cerritos took a 59-57 lead. The teams traded the lead a few times before Cerritos took the lead and held on for the rest of the game. The Knights missed a game-tying three-point attempt with :40 seconds left and Elston sealed the win on a jumper with :09 seconds remaining. McMillon, Jr. (11 points) and Wilkes (11 points) both added double-digit scoring, while Heckard posted nine points.