M. Basketball: Energetic win by Falcons clinches division title

File Photo: Darron Henry scored 16 second-half points to lead the Falcons
File Photo: Darron Henry scored 16 second-half points to lead the Falcons

For the 29th time in school history, the Cerritos College men's basketball team clinched at least a share of a conference championship. On Friday night, the Falcons (17-9, 8-0) posted an 89-69 win over Los Angeles Southwest College for their 10th straight win. It also secured the team at least a share of the South Coast Conference South Division championship with two games left in the regular season. Cerritos will travel to Los Angeles Harbor College next Wednesday for a 5:00 p.m. game. The 10-game winning streak matches their longest since the 2017-18 season.

Against the Cougars (17-9, 5-3), the Falcons never trailed and turned an early 15-13 lead into a 21-13 advantage after a pair of three-pointers from freshman Marcel Hayes (Long Beach Poly HS). Each time LA Southwest looked to make a run at the Falcons, they had a response. Consecutive baskets from sophomores Taeo Thomas (Verbum Dei HS) and Cameron McCoy (Taft HS), along with freshman Dillon Botts (Mayfair HS), allowed the team to pull back ahead, 29-20 in the first half. By intermission, the Falcons led, 42-32, which included five three-pointers.

The Cougars opened the second half by scoring the first eight points until Botts and sophomore Eric Clark (Cerritos HS) responded. Cerritos was able to extend their lead into double-digits after freshman Darron Henry (Long Beach Poly HS) drained three straight long range jumpers to make it a 57-42 lead. After Clark knocked down a three-pointer, the lead became 20 points (62-42) with 12:22 remaining and the Falcons never looked back.

Clark led the team with 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Henry scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half. Hayes, who made all three of his three-pointers, checked in with 11 points and five rebounds off the bench, while sophomore Miles Ceballos (Crossroads HS/Ventura College) recorded 10 points, six rebounds and eight assists. Botts (nine points, three assists) and Thomas (eight points, four assists, three rebounds) also played well.