While state #4 ranked East Los Angeles College maintains first place in the South Coast Conference North Division men's basketball standings at 6-1, the South Division race is a dead heat between #10 Long Beach City and #12 Cerritos. The two perennial rivals split their conference series and are tied for first at both 6-1.
The Vikings are on a 6-game win streak, including a 90-85 win over the Falcons on Feb. 8. The victory was actually the third encounter of the year between the schools with Cerritos also defeating LBCC in the championship game of the Irvine Valley tournament in November. With three games left on the conference schedule, it's a matter of will one get upset to allow the other a solo title. Tied for third place are LA Harbor and LA Southwest, both 3-4.
ELAC rebounded from the end of its 13-game win streak in a loss to #16 ranked Chaffey (69-65 on Feb. 8) by defeating Pasadena City, 73-65, Wednesday night. The Huskies had a wide edge at the free throw line, making 23 out of 38 shots (60.5 percent) while PCC converted only 4-for-13. Chaffey is a game behind East LA at 5-2 and have won five of its last six contests. Last evening, the Panthers downed Mt. San Antonio, 83-69, behind 22 points and 16 rebounds by Manu Oulai. Chaffey made 9-for-20 from 3-point range including five treys by the hot-shooting Jaylen Wiltz, who finished with 19 points.
State #23 Los Angeles Trade Tech has slumped, losing three straight games to create a 3-way tie for third place in the North with Pasadena and Mt. San Antonio, all 3-4 in the division. Rio Hondo snapped a 13-game overall and 6-game conference losing streak in a 75-70 win over the Beavers behind 25 points from Elijah McElroy.
In state statistics, Compton was fifth overall in offense at 83.8 points per game. The conference's top defense is Cerritos at No. 7, allowing 65.3 points a contest.
Individually, Chaffey's Anthony Garcia leads the state in free throw accuracy (91 percent) and is fifth in in 3-point shooting at 49.2 percent. Long Beach's Jace Bass is sixth in the state in scoring at 20.6 points per game. Pasadena's Jordan Simpson is second in blocks with a 3.1 average and Compton's Dominique Alexander is third in steals at 3.3 per game. Trade Tech's Fredelin Dela Cruz is sixth in rebounding (11.2 average).