"We've done well [so far this season], especially with our lack of sophomores... and I'm just impressed with the hard work from our freshmen," sophomore guard Marissa Rendon stated about her fellow teammates on the Cerritos College women's basketball team.
Support and positivity were key things needed from the 5'7" captain of the team, who just got out of a tough practice three days after the Falcons lost their second straight conference match up against a top-15 ranked opponent.
Pasadena City College (11) and Long Beach City College (6) both managed to walk away with victories, leaving the young Cerritos College squad, who only boasts four sophomores, with a 5-4 conference record heading into its most difficult opponent Wednesday.
Rendon and the rest of her team were in preparation for an important game Wednesday Jan. 30, as the Falcons are set to face the Mt. San Antonio College Mounties, who are ranked No. 1 in the state.
"Our focus is to work hard and to not get discouraged because we are playing the top team in the state. If anything the pressure is on [Mt. SAC], because they're obviously No. 1 in the state."
Head coach Karen Welliver is confident that her team knows what to expect in this match up against Mt. SAC, as the Falcons and the Mounties both know each other too well.
“It’s our third time playing them, because we played them also in the championship of the Fullerton Tournament also.
“We know that they’re big and that we have to work really hard on being physical and blocking out.”
Both sophomores Deenesha Bee and Diamond Roberts feel their sophomore roles have extreme importance in regard to both big games and the rest of the season, especially being surrounded by an inexperienced young team.
"Like Marissa said, I really believe that [the freshmen] work hard," Bee said.
"We need to improve on mainly defense, keeping our composure, finishing shots, and playing as a team."
Bee added, "Mainly we need to get this W.
"Some of our roles [as sophomores] are talking, to be leaders, cheering the freshmen on - telling them to keep their heads up when they make mistakes, but really just being leaders".
Looking forward to Friday's game against El Camino-Compton Center, sophomore Angela Peña cannot contain her excitement about her team playing it's first game in the new Cerritos College gymnasium.
"We've been playing at Gahr (High School). At Hope (International University). We've been practicing at Excelsior (High School).
"I'm very excited, and I know all of my sophomores are super excited about having our own gym here."
The Falcons feel that they have their standards set high for the rest of the season, but are willing to knuckle down in practice to achieve what they want, especially in this match up against Mt. SAC.
"The harder we work, the more we keep improving and improving and improving," coach Welliver added.
Cerritos faces Mt. SAC away at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, and will host its first home game of the season against El Camino-Compton Center Friday, Feb. 1 at the 5 p.m.