MONTEREY PARK – The East Los Angeles College men’s basketball team defeated visiting Mt. San Antonio College, 79-63, in a capacity-filled gymnasium to win the South Coast Conference North Division championship outright. (In photo:Aaron Cheatum (20) drives the baseline in last Friday’s conference-title clinching victory.)
In what was one of the most competitive seasons in South Coast Conference history, the Huskies won six of their final eight games and three straight to finish at the top of the standings with a 9-5 conference record.
Six different teams nearly won a share of the two conference titles as South Coast play came to an end last Friday. Cerritos, Long Beach and Los Angeles Harbor finished in a three-way tie in the South Division.
The championship is East L.A.’s first since 1971-72, when the Huskies captured the Southern California Conference under the late Gordon “Bud” Naslund and were led by All-State forward Ken Gray and all-conference guard Kenny Tyler.
ELAC (20-8) has had little time to savor its first title in 42 years as the Huskies
have been busy preparing for the State Southern California Region playoffs. The sixth-seeded Huskies play 11th seed Citrus College (15-8) Friday night at home. Tipoff is at 7.
It will be the first meeting between the teams since the Huskies stunned the Owls, 85-84, in the opening round of Citrus’ own tournament Nov. 23, 2012.
The Huskies continue to make the school record books under second-year Coach John Mosley. Last season, they became the first men’s basketball team to win a playoff game. They made another entry last Friday by becoming the first to have consecutive 20-win seasons.
Freshman guard Te’shon Burton (Leuzinger High School) scored 19 points and had 12 rebounds to lead the Huskies past Mt. San Antonio last Friday. Sophomore forward Aaron Cheatum (Rancho Verde HS) put in 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and sophomore forward Zach Hinton (Franklin HS) had 16 points and also had nine rebounds.
The Huskies also got nine points from freshman guard Marcus Romain (Progressive Christian HS, Brooklyn, N.Y.) and eight points from Primitivo Gomez (Arroyo HS). Davian Wilson (Jordan HS) dished off seven assists.
East Los Angeles College sophomore forward Aaron Cheatum (20) drives the baseline in last Friday’s conference-title clinching victory over Mt. San Antonio College. Cheatum scored18 points and had nine rebounds to help lead the Huskies, who improved to 20-8.