Cerritos stumbles early, cannot recover in loss to El Camino Compton

Luis+Medearis+%28%234%29+penetrates+against+Calvin+House+%28%232%29+of+El+Camino-Compton.+Medearis+led+all+Falcons+in+scoring+with+22+points.

Taylor Ogata

Luis Medearis (#4) penetrates against Calvin House (#2) of El Camino-Compton. Medearis led all Falcons in scoring with 22 points.

Terrel Emerson, Sports Editor

The Falcons men’s basketball team couldn’t overcome a shaky start as it fell to The Tartars by a final score of 77-66.

The win took El Camino Compton College to 7-8 and dropped Cerritos College to 9-8 on the young season.

This is a trend that Cerritos looks to change Friday, Jan. 8 against Mt. San Antonio.

Both teams started the game in a 2-3 zone, which was quickly aborted by the Falcons head coach Russ May after two quick three pointers by the Tartars.

On the contrary El Camino Compton continue with its 2-3 zone despite the driving success of Cerritos.

“They weren’t really pressing up on us, so I just attacked the gap,” freshman guard Luis Medearis said.

Medearis had a game-high 22 points on 9 of 23 shooting and 1 of 8 from three-point range.

This was the first home game of the season for the team subsequently it was Medearis’ first game in front of his fellow schoolmates.

He was seen actively trying to get the crowd involved with the game.

“It just motivates us a group. We all get together as a group and then the crowd gets into it and then just the momentum of everybody yelling and just being for each other. It just gets everybody going,” Medearis explained.

However, Medearis wasn’t the only one finding success in the paint as freshmen guard Brian Nebo scored 14 points, with 12 coming in the paint to go along with eight rebounds.

“It was just seeing an opening, open lanes. Their defense wasn’t really that strong just me being the driver that I am, it’s easy to just find the lane,” Nebo said.

Despite the success in the first half, Nebo was seen sitting on the end of the Cerritos bench holding his hamstring towards the end of the second half

“I started cramping in both legs. I was trying to go [back in the game] but I couldn’t go,” he added.

He said he will play Friday against Mt. San Antonio.

Nebo was forced to sit on the rather quiet bench for the last 10 minutes of the contest.

Something that really seemed to irk fellow freshmen guard Tyler Payne was the lack of support coming from the bench.

“We didn’t prepare ourselves enough to come in and be locked in as a group. We were just off balance, our chemistry was off by a level just because we had to start different guys,” Payne said.

Payne contributed seven points, four assists and three steals for the Falcons.

Last season, it was no question that Josh Bell was the undeniable vocal leader of the team but this year it looks as if Medearis and Payne will have to shoulder that load unless a sophomore takes the reigns.

“They [Medearis and Payne] were prepared tonight to play hard and they did. They played their asses off,” May admitted.

Although, the Falcons did not lead at any point of the game they were able to pull within one point in the second half after three offensive rebounds and three put backs.

Yet, following those three plays Cerritos committed two turnovers that seemed to take the air out of the home team.

“It’s always big when we turn over the [ball]. We have to take care of the ball because it’s more possessions, it’s precious and it’s valuable,” Payne said.

Coach May looked visibly upset after the game and said this in regards to the team squandering valuable opportunities.

“Part of it is lack of mental preparation and bad decision making,” May expressed.

The team had only eight assists on its 26 made field goals, something that May simply labeled “bad passing.”

In addition to their own turnovers the Falcons just couldn’t seem to capitalize on the turnovers committed by the Tartars.

El Camino Compton actually committed two more turnovers than Cerritos at 19-17 much to the dismay of May.

“They [El Camino Compton] jut out hustled us to all of the loose balls,” May said.

“Tonight they won all the 50/50 battles for all the loose balls, we just did not get on the basketball,” he added.