Leading 59-57 with 1:11 left in the second half, the Cerritos College men's basketball team saw visiting West Los Angeles College outscore them, 9-1 the rest of the way and suffered a 66-61 setback, which ends their season. The Falcons (22-7), seeded #5 for the Southern California Regional Playoffs, were looking to make a return trip to the CCCAA State Championships. But the #12-seeded Wildcats (19-10) converted their free throws down the stretch to pull off the upset. In the first half, West LA was just 4-for-10 from the free throw line, but converted their final six in the last minute of the game.
On West LA's next possession after freshman Chance Hunter (Inglewood HS) put the Falcons in front, 59-57, they converted a three-point play with 51.6 seconds left when Mark Carter scored and was fouled. Cerritos would never regain the lead and after freshman Tawon Elston (Roosevelt HS) missed a three-pointer, Carter grabbed the rebound, was fouled and netted both free throws. Another missed shot was followed by two more Wildcat free throws, this time from Terrell Waiters with 20.9 seconds left for a 64-59 advantage.
Looking to get up a quick three-pointer, sophomore Darryl McMillon, Jr. (View Park Prep HS) was fouled with 16.1 seconds left, but was only able to convert one of his three free throw attempts. West LA closed out the game by netting their final two free throws.
Both teams looked to play up-tempo basketball and settled for taking long-range jumpers, as they combined for 40 three-point attempts. Cerritos was only successful on 5-of-23 attempts, with McMillon hitting a pair and finishing with eight points.
A jump hook by freshman Daelyn Bams (Villa Park HS) gave the Falcons their largest lead of the game at 43-38 with 13:17 left in the second half. That lead disappeared, thanks to five straight points from Derrick Woods. But the lead went back to four points (55-51) after Hunter (nine points, seven rebounds) converted a pair of free throws with 4:15 remaining. Cerritos was just 2-for-6 from the field the remainder of the game, which also included a pair of turnovers.
Sophomore Dezmon Murphy (La Mirada HS) led the team with 11 points and 11 rebounds, with sophomore Cody Wilkes (La Mirada HS) accounting for 10 points. Elston provided nine points off the bench.
Photos by Daryl Peterson