Huskies Attempt to Win Conference Outright on Friday
East Los Angeles College clinched a tie for its fourth consecutive South Coast Conference North Division men’s basketball championship by defeating Rio Hondo, 84-68 Wednesday, and the Huskies can capture the title outright with a victory against L.A. Trade Tech at 5 p.m. Friday at home.
The Huskies — ranked fourth in the state by the California Community College Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Association — are 23-4 overall and 8-1 in the conference. They have won 16 of their last 17 games and are unbeaten (8-0) at home.
Getting past Trade Tech (17-9, 3-6) will be difficult. ELAC and Trade Tech engaged in one of the more memorable games of the season when the teams met Feb. 6 at Trade Tech. The Huskies emerged with a hard-fought 74-70 win and have won three of their last four since to remain at the top of the division standings.
Trade Tech, on the other hand, has lost five straight games and has fallen out of the division title chase since starting off 3-1. But the Beavers still have much to play for. A victory against ELAC could improve their chances of earning a state playoff berth.
“We’re going to have to stay focused and play one of our better games to beat Trade Tech,” ELAC Coach John Mosley said. “They’re a good team with a good chance of making the playoffs and they’re going to come after us hard.”
The Huskies have had a successful run under Mosley, winning five conference championships during his seven years at ELAC. They finished second the other two seasons.
The Huskies ran into a determined team in Rio Hondo Wednesday. The Roadrunners fell to 4-23 overall and 1-8 in the SCC and despite having only seven players kept pace with the deeper and taller Huskies for most of the game.
But they couldn’t stop ELAC’s Alec Hickman and Solomon Hunt. Hickman, a sophomore guard from JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano, scored a team-high 20 points and had four rebounds and three assists. Hunt, a sophomore forward from Upland High School, scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and got two steals.
Guard Deshaun Highler (Riverside J.W. North HS) had 14 points, six rebounds and three assists, and guard Darius Henderson (Woodland Hills Taft HS) added 11 points, six rebounds and six assists. Forward Babacar Thiombane (Fairfax HS) grabbed seven rebounds to go with seven points.
— Story and photo by Mario Villegas