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605 LEAGUE BOYS BASKETBALL Cerritos Boys Sweep Season Series Against John Glenn As Both Prepare for Upcoming Playoffs

 

February 9, 2022

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

Cerritos High first-year co-head coach Lance Convento wanted to use the final game of the regular season against John Glenn High just to get ready for the upcoming CIF-Southern Section divisional playoffs. The teams had already clinched second and third place respectively in the 605 League and Convento just wanted to work on more executions, clean up on its offensive and defensive sets and trying to take it to the next level.

Even though the Dons led wire to wire last Thursday, it wasn’t the crisp, clean game Convento had hoped for in their 57-45 win against an improved Glenn squad from previous seasons. Cerritos improved to 9-14 overall, 4-1 in league action and will travel to Chaparral High, ranked second in Division 3AA, tonight in a first round game.

“We’re trying to preach to these kids to not be in cruise control right now just because we’re second in league and we clinched [the] playoffs,” said Convento. “We still have to get prepared, and they’ll be ready to take it to the next level and stay disciplined.”

He was referring to the 23-point lead the Dons had built with 1:56 remaining in the third quarter. After scoring 26 points in the first half, Cerritos scored as many points in the third quarter alone. Meanwhile, the Eagles (12-12, 3-2) were wrapping up its best regular season in over 25 seasons and despite the loss, will enter tonight’s Division 5A first round game at River Springs High in Hemet. Glenn is ranked eighth in the division.

“Tonight, I’m proud of them because the team did get down big and I told them, ‘hey, let’s make it respectable’,” said Glenn first-year head coach Sam Abebe. “Optics are big for John Glenn because last year, this would have been a 60-point loss for them. Escaping [their] senior night with a 12-point loss…again, obviously I don’t like to lose. But I’m glad of the way they finished because this is a good taste for them to get prepared for what’s coming in the playoffs next week.”

Glenn trailed by three points twice in a low-scoring first quarter in which both teams combined for 17 points. Cerritos would go up 18-6 early in the second quarter before the Eagles scored the next right points, including a pair of baskets from junior Sebastian Figueroa. But the Dons made sure the lead wouldn’t get closer as junior Andrew Hartman nailed a pair of three-pointers and junior Dominic Dela Cruz added a basket while Glenn could muster free throws over the final 2:41 of the half.

The third quarter would be unkind to the Eagles, who turned the ball over eight times in the stanza and attempted only six shots from the field while the Dons were on fire. Cerritos was true on seven of its first 10 shots while eight of the 12 players who were in action scored in the quarter. Senior Armand Soriano recorded all three of his steals in those eight minutes.

“It was a little sloppy; I’m not going to lie,” said Convento of the third quarter. “I told them they have to clean it up. I know it’s senior night and we’re having fun, but we have to win this game still. It’s going to count towards our overall record, so we have to come out and win and try to get ready for playoffs.”

“It was déjà vu again of what happened in the second quarter the last time we played them,” said Abebe. “I knew going in we were going to have a stretch like the second quarter the last time we played them. I was hoping that we would withstand it and just battle through that storm a little bit.

“This is where this team needs to figure it out quickly if we’re going to go far in the playoffs because our kryptonite is that, and they just need to not panic,” he continued. “They broke the press pretty well in the first quarter. If we made our shots, we would have been okay.”

On Jan. 19, Cerritos defeated Glenn 64-21 for its fourth win of the season at the time while Glenn dropped to 9-8. The Eagles have not been more than two games above or below .500 all season. Figueroa, who transferred to Glenn but sat out the first 11 games, scored a career-high 26 points grabbed four rebounds and had four steals while junior Michael Saucedo added 10 points and four boards.

“The kid has ability,” said Abebe of Figueroa. “The one thing about him is he begins to get a little down on himself when the team struggles.”

Cerritos was led by Hartman’s 13 points and six rebounds off the bench while senior Alec Reyes added nine points and six rebounds. Senior Matthew White chipped in with eight points as all but one player scored for the Dons.

Prior to the game, it was all Cerritos in a 66-4 win as 12 players had at least one rebound, 11 players had at least a steal and 10 players scored. The Dons (16-7 overall), who led 20-0 after the first quarter and 39-0 at the half, were led by senior Amara Hizon (15 points, seven steals, two rebounds, two assists) and senior Jasmine Uy (14 points, five rebounds, four steals and two rebounds). Cerritos grabbed 37 rebounds and had 24 steals as the 605 League tri-champions will host ninth-ranked Hesperia High on Saturday in a Division 3AA first round game.

Glenn, which went winless in its 21-game schedule, didn’t score until freshman Aaliyah Ramirez connected on a pair of free throws with 6:29 left in the third quarter. Senior Ruby Chavez would account for the lone basket a few minutes later as the Eagles attempted 27 shots in the game.

 

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