In the month of January, the South Coast Conference has featured a flock of close encounters in men's basketball providing exciting finishes as the teams jockey for early leads in the North and South Divisions.
State #5-ranked East Los Angeles (17-3) is on a 10-game win streak, but has played a high-wire act in pulling out a 1-point win over LA Harbor in a crossover (Jan. 11), a 3-point overtime victory over #11-ranked Long Beach City (Jan. 18), and a 1-point OT triumph over Pasadena City (Jan. 25). The Huskies are tied with #12-rated LA Trade Tech atop the North standings with 2-0 marks. The Beavers have won nine of their last 10 games and also have managed to win close games over LA Harbor by two points in OT (Jan. 4), Compton by three (Jan. 9), El Camino by six (Jan. 18), and Mt. San Antonio by five points (Jan. 23).
While #10-rated Cerritos has routed some teams, the Falcons are tied at 2-0 to top the South by surprising LA Southwest, a team that beat Rio Hondo by five (Jan. 18), defeated Compton by 6 (Jan. 23) and got by LA Harbor by 4 points (Jan. 25).
Another improved team is Pasadena, which beat Rio Hondo (Jan. 23) by one in OT, then nearly upset ELAC before losing by one in OT. PCC did upset Cerritos in a crossover by four (Jan. 18) and at the start of the month had a 3-point win over LA Southwest. The Lancers are tied with #17-ranked Chaffey for third place, both with 1-1 division marks.
In the SoCal ratings, the SCC continues to sparkle with ELAC at #3, Cerritos #6, Long Beach #7, Trade Tech #8, and Chaffey #11.
Cerritos is No. 4 in team defense at 63.3 points allowed per game. Trade Tech is fourth in state offense (84.7 points average) and Compton is sixth at 84.2. Pasadena leads the state in blocked shots (6.8 per game), LA Southwest is second (5.8) and Cerritos is fifth (4.9). Chaffey is second in the state in team steals (11.8) and Compton is third (11.4). PCC is third in rebounding (43.5) and East LA is fifth (42.9).