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605 LEAGUE BASKETBALL : Artesia boys basketball in desperate mode to make playoffs after falling to Cerritos

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

As the second round of the 605 League began last Friday, the Artesia High boys basketball team knew there was little margin for error if it wanted to remain in the playoff hunt. There was no school that day and co-head coach Jeff Myles was about to hold practice, then bring the team back later in the evening for the game.

That decision may or may not have played a factor in Artesia’s sluggish performance against Cerritos High. The Pioneers, who never led and trailed by 27 points early in the second half, lost 64-51 to the league leaders. Artesia tried to make the score more respectable but couldn’t get closer than 11 points.

“Earlier in the year, we’ve been not giving up, but just doubting ourselves, hanging our heads and feeling sorry for ourselves,” Myles said. “I think today, we didn’t feel sorry for ourselves. We just kind of kept believing and kept chipping away.”

Cerritos scored the first seven points of the game and led 19-7 after the first quarter. The hosts scored twice on three-pointers from senior Miguel Javier and were two of 12 shooting from the field in the opening quarter. When the game had concluded, Artesia shot 15 field goals in 41 attempts and was 14 of 18 from the free throw line.

“We had great looks; we had great wide-open looks,” Myles said. “They just weren’t falling. That’s basketball. Sometimes they go in. It’s a game of makes.”

Three other players scored one basket apiece in the first half and after Cerritos junior Alexander Archer scored off one of his three steals 80 seconds into the second half, the Pioneers got five straight points from sophomore Tyler Miller and a three-pointer from senior Jeremiah Charles. But the Pioneers would score consecutive points only one more time in the game.

Miller led all players with 20 points while Charles added 10 points while the Dons were paced by senior Jagger Uy (19 points), Archer (13 points, seven rebounds, three steals) and three other players who all scored six points, including senior Ethan Reyes who added seven boards as well. 

Cerritos knocked off John Glenn High 84-17 this past Wednesday to improve to 18-7 overall and 7-0 in league play while the Pioneers defeated Whitney High 55-40 to move to 12-13 overall, 3-4 in the circuit. Entering tonight’s action, Artesia and Oxford Academy are tied for third place and the final automatic berth to grab a postseason berth. Artesia would have to win at least two of its last three games to be at-large eligible and will host Oxford Academy tonight.

“We knew that coming in, so we knew this was going to be a tough one,” Myles said. “We wanted to win this one. We thought we had a chance to win this one. I think we still kind of like where we’re at. We control our own destiny, which is great. That’s all we wanted to do. We don’t have to rely on anybody else. If we win out, we should make playoffs.”

Prior to the game, the Artesia girls were thinking major upset, and had a five-point lead late in the first quarter. But the Lady Pioneers were outscored 13-2 in a span of nearly four and a half minutes and never led again, losing to Cerritos 55-35. Although Artesia stayed within single digits for most of the first half, it was the Lady Dons who held a 31-21 halftime advantage before allowing three Artesia baskets in the second half. 

Freshman Samerika Young led Artesia with 13 points and 11 rebounds while senior Seira Roberts added eight points and six rebounds. For Young, it was the sixth straight game of at least 10 points and 12thoverall. Cerritos had 11 of 13 players score, led by sophomores Jasmine Uy (12 points, three rebounds, two steals) and Rachel Tucker (10 points, four rebounds). Artesia would fall to Whitney 51-35 this past Wednesday to go to 18-6 overall, 1-6 in league action.

The Lady Dons would then fall to Aliso Niguel High 58-41 last Saturday in the 11thannual Tony Matson Classic, held at Orange Lutheran High. Cerritos trailed 14-0 before climbing back to be down by half a dozen points with 2:42 left in the first half. But Aliso Niguel ended the half on a 6-0 run, then scored the first eight points of the second half. 

Uy scored 11 points and had three rebounds and three steals while senior Alyssa Sarigumba added 10 points and six rebounds. The Lady Dons would post a 47-32 victory over Glenn this past Wednesday to improve to 15-10 overall and 7-0 in league.

Both Artesia teams will host Oxford Academy tonight before going to Glenn on Tuesday and Pioneer High on Thursday to end the regular season. In addition, the Lady Pioneers will entertain St. Monica High on Saturday. Meanwhile, both Cerritos teams can clinch at least a share of the 605 League championship with a home victory over Pioneer tonight. Cerritos then travels to Oxford Academy on Tuesday and Whitney on Thursday.