M. Basketball: Win moves Falcons into first place

File Photo: Jaishon Forte led the team with 17 points off the bench
File Photo: Jaishon Forte led the team with 17 points off the bench

Entering the night in a three-way tie for first place in the South Coast Conference South Division, the Cerritos College men's basketball team ended the night sitting alone at the top. On Wednesday, the Falcons (14-9, 4-1) defeated Los Angeles Southwest College, 64-59 to drop them out of a share for the lead, while Long Beach City suffered a 73-70 loss to last place El Camino College, which slid them down to second place. The team will host Los Angeles Harbor College (7-16, 1-4) at 7:00 p.m. on Friday in another divisional game.

Against the Cougars (12-10, 3-2), Cerritos had their hands full, as they held back their opponent in the final minutes. Leading by as many as 12 points (50-38) with 9:24 remaining in the second half, the Falcons hit a cold spell, while LA Southwest started to heat up. By the time there was 1:50 left on the clock, it was a 58-57 Falcons lead, as they went 2-for-8 from the field with two turnovers during that spell.

With 1:37 remaining, freshman Jaishon Forte (Rancho Verde HS) netted a pair of free throws, while the Cougars missed on a three-point attempt from Clayshaun Penn and a follow-up shot from Jamaal Logan. Freshman Cerroy Chenault (Warren HS) pulled down the loose rebound, with the Falcons calling timeout with 52.5 seconds remaining. Coming out of the timeout, Forte missed a three-pointer, but LA Southwest went down and also missed on their shot attempt. Sophomore Jalen Washington (Bishop Montgomery HS) was fouled and he calmly drained two free throws with 11 seconds left. 

A pair of free throws kept the Cougars close, and when freshman Joshua Belvin (St. Anthony HS) missed on his two attempts from the charity stripe with four seconds left and the score, 62-59, it left the door open for LA Southwest to get one last shot. However, Belvin was able to chase down the missed attempt and then converted both of his free throws after getting fouled right away.

Forte led all scorers with 17 points off the bench, while sophomore Daelyn Bams (Villa Park HS) went 6-for-6 from the field for 12 points and also added seven rebounds. Washington finished with 10 points and five rebounds on the night, with Belvin posting eight points and five rebounds off the bench.