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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW Cerritos basketball squads end first round of Suburban League action on high note

By Loren Kopff


The Cerritos boys and girls basketball teams will be off today from the Suburban League and while the respective coaches will do some scouting, they’ll also enjoy life at the top of the circuit. The boys had no problems with host Artesia in a 63-43 win this past Wednesday night while the girls cruised to another win of over 20 points.

The boys limited the Pioneers to three points in the second quarter as they led 31-12 at halftime behind the stellar play of senior guard Henry Buycks and junior guards Evan Leonard and Brandon Yoon, all of whom combined for 22 first half points.

Artesia tried to make it close in the third quarter with the scoring of senior post Dontae Smith, who scored eight of his 12 points in the stanza, and junior guard Semaje Chatman, who grabbed five of his eight rebounds in the quarter.

But the Dons (11-10 overall, 5-1 in league) went on an 11-0 run in the middle of the fourth quarter to put the game away. Leonard finished with 21 points, six rebounds and two of the teams’ 10 steals. The last time Cerritos ended the first round of league play with a 5-1 mark was 2011. That season, the Dons went 8-4 in league play but advanced to the quarterfinals of the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section playoffs. If La Mirada beats Mayfair tonight, there will be a three-way for first place.

First place will still be on the line when Cerritos travels to La Mirada on Wednesday as the second round begins. The Dons upset the Matadores 78-69 on Jan. 12.

Artesia freshman post Gary Williams also scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds and the Pioneers (10-9, 2-3) cleaned up the glass 34 times. Artesia will visit Bellflower today before returning to action at John Glenn on Jan. 30.

Before the boys took to the court, the Lady Dons barely broke a sweat in a 63-26 rout over the last place Pioneers. Cerritos, the eighth-ranked team in Division II-A, improved to 14-6 overall and 6-0 in the league. It’s the first time the Lady Dons have gone through the first round on league action undefeated since 2008 and the fourth time this century. In addition, the six league wins have come by an average of 24.2 points.

Cerritos led 20-12 after the first quarter, then scored 20 more in the second quarter while Artesia was held scoreless. Senior guard Alyssa Movchan scored 10 of her game-high 17 in the first half while sophomore guard Cailey Vitug added seven of her 10 points in the first 16 minutes.

The Cerritos defense forced Artesia (4-15, 0-5) to turn the ball over 27 times and the Pioneers attempted 12 shots in the first half. Freshman Riley Woolf came off the bench to lead Artesia with seven points.

In other basketball action, the Gahr boys team improved to 15-4 overall and 3-0 in the San Gabriel Valley League following a 67-47 road win at Downey this past Wednesday. The Gladiators, who are ranked third in Division III-AA, will host Dominguez tonight and Lynwood on Wednesday.


Artesia routed Cerritos 5-1 this past Wednesday to win for the fifth time in 17 games this season. The Pioneers got two goals from sophomore midfielder Francisco Sierra and solo tallies from junior forward Steven Espinoza, sophomore forward Jorge Pantoja and sophomore midfielder Jose Ortiz. The win was Artesia’s 25th straight over Cerritos, which had just snapped a 54-game winless slump in league action when it edged John Glenn 3-2 on Jan. 16. The last time Cerritos won a league game was Feb. 1, 2010, a 2-1 home triumph over Glenn. Since then, the Dons had gone 0-52-2 before the win over the Eagles.

Valley Christian routed Village Christian 11-2 this past Tuesday as sophomore forward Clay D’Amico found the back of the net seven times. The 11 goals are the most the Crusaders (5-7, 3-0) have scored in a league game since blanking then-league foe Brethren Christian 11-0 on Feb. 4, 2000.


The middle of the Suburban League continues to stay tight as Artesia and Cerritos played to a 2-2 tie this past Wednesday. Artesia had a 2-0 halftime lead on a pair of goals from freshman midfielder Brittany Llanes, who leads the team with nine goals. Cerritos got a goal from sophomore forward Tobechi Udeh midway through the second half and the equalizer in stoppage time.

Artesia stands at 6-4-5 overall, 1-2-2 while Cerritos is 10-3-3, 2-2-2 and both trail La Mirada and Mayfair, who each are 5-0 and play each other today. Norwalk could improve to 2-2-2 in league play with a home win over last place John Glenn today while Artesia visits Bellflower, which is 1-4 in league action.