W. Basketball: Playoff win advances Falcons to 2nd Round

File Photo: Brianna Flores had nine points and seven rebounds in the Falcons win
File Photo: Brianna Flores had nine points and seven rebounds in the Falcons win

Facing Rio Hondo College for the third time this season, the Cerritos College women's basketball team recorded a 54-47 win in the 1st Round of the Southern California Regional Playoffs on Tuesday. The Falcons (20-8), seeded #18 for the postseason, will now travel to take on #2-seeded Irvine Valley College at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday. Earlier in the season, the Lasers (23-2), winners of 14 straight games, defeated Cerritos, 72-43 at the Irvine Valley Tournament. The Falcons will be looking for their first win over the Lasers since 2008 and have lost their last seven meetings, including playoff losses in 2015 and 2016.

In the win over the #15-seeded Roadrunners (11-16), Cerritos limited their opponents to single-digit scoring through the first three quarters to open up a double-digit lead. A Precious Yerena (Downey HS) layup with 3:42 left in the second quarter put the Falcons in front 23-11 and took a 25-15 lead into intermission. Neither team scored in the final 1:32 of the half.

Freshman Ilani Avila (Downey HS) and Yerena opened up the second half with buckets to make it a 29-15 lead, while the Roadrunners needed 4:10 to finally get on the board. Holding a 31-19 lead, Cerritos once again kept Rio Hondo from scoring, as they went another 4:40 before scoring with :11 seconds left in the third quarter. By that time, the Falcons were leading, 36-22, thanks in part to a three-pointer from freshman Brianna Flores (Norwalk HS).

Leading by 20 (43-23) after a Therese Zekajj (Legacy HS) layup, they maintained that lead when freshman Ashley Miller (Paramount HS) knocked down a three-pointer with 3:22 remaining for a 50-31 lead. The Roadrunners went on a 16-4 run the remainder of the game, as the Falcons went 1-for-4 with four turnovers during the remainder of the game. The two teams combined for 57 turnovers on the night.

Avila led all scorers with 20 points and added four rebounds, while Flores checked in with nine points and seven rebounds. Zekajj led all players with 15 rebounds to go with her six points and four steals, with Yerena finishing with six points and six steals.