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Five SCC Teams In Men's Basketball State Top 15

East Los Angeles College is the state's highest ranked team at No. 5 from the South Coast Conference.
East Los Angeles College is the state's highest ranked team at No. 5 from the South Coast Conference.

The current State Top 20 Rankings features five South Coast Conference teams among the top 15 as the conference has made a leap of improvement overall in the 2018-2019 season.

Going into their divisional play next week, East Los Angeles (14-3) is at No. 5, followed by Long Beach City (15-2) at No. 6, Cerritos (13-4) at No. 10, Chaffey (12-5) at No. 12, and LA Trade Tech (13-3) at No. 15. The SCC has the most highest-ranked teams of any conference with the North Region's Coast Conference next best in that upper 15 with three teams. All five South Coast teams are part of the SoCal Top 10.

Long Beach, boasting the SoCal Region's highest RPI at third in the state, is on fire with a 6-game win streak and having won 10 of its last 11. Led by South Division scoring leader Jace Bass, 19.2 points per game, the Vikings expect to be in a tight race with Cerritos for the South crown. The Falcons handed LBCC one of its two losses, 89-64, in November at the championship game of the Irvine Valley Classic. Cerritos, No. 7 in state RPI, also won the Grossmont Tournament. The defending SCC South champion Falcons are led by Chance Hunter, averaging 14.5 points per contest. Long Beach and Cerritos are the frontrunners for the SCC South title with Compton (9-8) a tough opponent every season.

East LA continues to be a state power and is in the midst of a 7-game win streak. Ironically, the Huskies were upset by Cerritos for their last loss, 71-62, in a crossover game on Dec. 21. ELAC has one of the state's most balanced offensive attacks with four players averaging nine or more points a game, and three others at seven or more a contest, led by Alec Hickman's modest 10.3 average. The Huskies were winners of the College of the Canyons and Cuyamaca Tournaments and also won three straight games at the Riverside Tournament. 

Chaffey is paced by Kehasson (Manou) Oulai, who leads the Panthers in scoring average (13.5 points) and rebounding (8.7 boards). Chaffey earlier had a 6-game win streak, and now has won its last three in a row. 

Maybe the conference's new threat in the SCC North is LA Trade Tech, fresh off an upset win over Cerritos, 93-78, on Wednesday. The Beavers started the season 0-2, then ran off 12 consecutive victories before Long Beach stopped that streak, 89-72, on Jan. 11. Trade Tech is led by Fredelin Dela Cruz, who is fourth in the state and tops among all conference players in both scoring (21.7 points) and rebounds (11.7).

Unranked Pasadena City (11-6) is another team that is having a rebound season which means four teams could vie for the SCC North title. ELAC has won three straight North crowns (tied Chaffey for 2017 title). 

SCC high scorer/rebounder Fredelin Dela Cruz of LA Trade Tech