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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW: Cerritos handles adversity well to claim consolation championship of Coyote Classic

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter


BUENA PARK-What could have been a complete blowout turned out to be nearly a nail-biter when the Cerritos High boys basketball team faced La Habra High in the consolation championship game of the Buena Park Coyote Classic last Saturday afternoon. Cerritos had a 20-point lead, then saw it dwindle to five points late in the game before the Dons escaped with a 62-53 win.

Cerritos came out strong, leading 14-2 midway through the first period. After the first quarter, it was 19-9 and all signs pointed to a somewhat easy victory. After an offensive rebound and basket from senior Jyvontte Moore with 3:31 left in the first half, Cerritos had increased its lead to 27-11. Then early in the third quarter, Byron Sur’s steal and basket made it a 40-20 affair.

“[La Habra] is a good team; we came out well,” said Cerritos co-head coach Jonathan Watanabe. “We came out shooting the ball well and that always helps. But sometimes it’s a little bit of fool’s gold because you think that you’re a little bit better than you are. We battled in the second half, but it was a good game. We needed one of these games.”

The Highlanders chipped away at their big deficit and trailed 42-34 with 2:22 remaining in the stanza. Cerritos had gone through a stretch of 4:53 without a field goal in six attempts, getting just three free throws in six tries. But a sudden surge over the final 71 seconds put Cerritos up by 14 points heading into the fourth quarter. Senior Vincent Biscoe took a pass from freshman Alexander Archer and scored, then had the last of his three steals and fed a pass to senior Destin Flucas who scored his lone basket of the game.

And if it wasn’t La Habra mounting a comeback, then Cerritos had to deal with less than ideal officiating. Senior Dorian Harris picked up his fourth foul with 5:45 left in the third quarter and fouled out with 2:50 left in the game. Less than a minute later, senior Nathan Amanuel also fouled out.

“We had a hard time with them,” Watanabe said. “We have to focus [on] what we can handle; what we can take care of as far as being on the court, playing basketball, playing offense and playing defense. We don’t have any control over the officiating. So, we kind of have to let those things go.”

In that same span that Harris and Amanuel fouled out, La Habra sank five free throws to make it a 54-49 contest before Moore had a pair of steals, was fouled and sank a pair of free throws to ice the game with under a minute remaining.

Biscoe led the Dons with 18 points, all coming on three-pointers and had a pair of rebounds, assists and steals in the third quarter while Moore added 16 points with nine rebounds and four steals after the first quarter.

“Today, Vincent was the guy that kept us going in the beginning and Jyvontte kind of finished the game for us,” Watanabe said. “But it’s going to be different guys every night. All of our players have key roles.”

Cerritos then opened its co-hosted tournament with Gahr High with a 66-44 victory over Long Beach Jordan High this past Monday to improve to 4-1. The Dons hosted Kennedy High this past Wednesday and will face St. John Bosco High tonight before ending the tournament on Saturday.

“I thought the tournament as a whole was good for us,” Watanabe said. “Hopefully it brought our team together a little bit more.”

In other boys basketball action, Artesia High improved to 4-1 following a 57-44 win over Hoover High this past Monday in pool play action of the Artesia Winter Classic. The Pioneers faced Bosco Tech this past Wednesday and will conclude the tournament on Saturday before taking some time off before opening Suburban League action at Bellflower High on Dec. 18.

Gahr (2-3) began its co-hosted tournament with Cerritos with an 81-48 win over Wiseburn-DaVinci this past Monday and faced Fountain Valley High this past Wednesday before hosting Crespi High tonight.

John Glenn High went 1-3 in the Los Amigos Tournament and will host Ganesha High on Monday and Saddleback High on Wednesday while Norwalk High, which lost to Valley Christian High 64-50 last Friday, fell to Lynwood High 70-36 this past Monday in pool play action of the Valley Christian Tournament. When the Lancers finish that tournament on Saturday, they’ll participate in the Bellflower Tournament beginning on Monday.

V.C. has won the first three games of the season and after hosting its own tournament, the Crusaders will also compete in the Bellflower Tournament.


Artesia won the first two games of the Hawk Holiday Classic at Ocean View High, defeating Laguna Beach High 62-14 this past Monday and Century High 47-34 the next day. The Lady Pioneers faced Magnolia High on Dec. 7 and will meet Los Amigos High on Saturday before hosting Mountain View High on Monday and Locke High on Wednesday in the early stages of the Lady Pioneers Winter Classic.

Cerritos went 3-1 in the Downey Tournament and faced Chino High this past Wednesday in the first pool play game of the Orange Tournament. The Lady Dons also faced Santiago High on Dec. 7 and will see Santa Margarita High today.

Gahr began the season going 1-3 in the Brea Olinda Tournament and opened the John Glenn/Norwalk Tournament with a 49-26 win over Bassett High this past Wednesday. The Lady Gladiators faced Whittier High on Dec. 7 and will play tonight and tomorrow night in the tournament. The Lady Gladiators will then visit El Dorado High on Thursday.

Glenn, which won three games last season, picked up its fourth win in six games this season after defeating Banning High 53-22 last Saturday. The Lady Eagles then fell to Whittier 48-47 this past Wednesday in the opening round of the Glenn/Norwalk Tournament and faced Bassett on Dec. 7. Glenn will visit Paramount High on Thursday.

V.C. split four games in the Redondo Tournament and will host the 41st version of its own tournament with pool play games against San Clemente High on Tuesday and Fountain Valley on Wednesday.

Whitney, which slammed Lifeline Charter High 57-16 this past Wednesday in the opening game of the Glenn/Norwalk Tournament, faced Santa Fe High on Dec. 7 and will see Westminster High on Monday and Long Beach Wilson on Wednesday in the V.C. Tournament,


After an opening season loss, Artesia has won three straight, outscoring the opposition 18-3. The Pioneers will host Millikan High on Saturday and Cabrillo High on Monday before travelling to Long Beach Poly High on Wednesday.

Cerritos has begun the season with three losses, including a pair of shutout setbacks in the Temple City Tournament last Saturday. The Dons will visit Ocean View today and finish competition in the Temple City Tournament on Saturday.

Glenn, with a pair of wins to begin the season, visited Whittier Christian High on Dec. 7 and will host Whitney on Tuesday before going to Santa Fe High on Thursday.

Norwalk is off to a solid start with three straight shutouts after a 1-0 loss to begin the season. The Lancers then edged California High 2-1 this past Tuesday and will travel to Torrance High today

V.C. blanked Whitney 3-0 last Friday evening and knocked off Sage Hill High 3-1 this past Tuesday to improve to 2-1. The Crusaders hosted Lakewood High on Dec. 7 and will visit Crean Lutheran High today before hosting Mayfair High on Monday and St. Anthony High on Wednesday.


After falling to Santa Fe High 7-0 this past Tuesday, Artesia will face Century High and Foothill Technology in the Best In The West Winter Soccer Classic on Saturday. The Lady Pioneers will then host Oxford Academy on Tuesday and visit Paramount High on Thursday.

Norwalk was blanked 1-0 by Gahr last Friday and 5-0 by California this past Tuesday to fall to 1-3. The Lady Lancers, who faced Whitney on Dec. 7, will face Oxford Academy and Schurr High in the Best In The West Winter Soccer Classic on Saturday before visiting Lynwood on Tuesday.

After scorning nine goals in its first two games, V.C. lost to Sage Hill 2-1 this past Tuesday and will host Crean Lutheran this evening before facing Bell Gardens High and Hoover High in the Best In The West Winter Soccer Classic on Saturday. The Lady Crusaders will also host Mayfair on Tuesday and travel to St. Anthony on Wednesday.