Falcons get wire-to-wire win over The Tartars

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Taylor Ogata

Kaylyn James (#25) defends against Deloice Johnson (#23) of El Camino-Compton. James finished with six points along with three rebounds, and an assist.

Terrel Emerson, Sports Editor

A year under the belt of Kennedi Cooper has made a world of difference for her and the Cerritos College women’s basketball team. It showed during the 77-32 win over El Camino Compton College.

“It was all a learning experience my first year. You continue to grow, it helped me realize a lot of stuff and get my mind right for the next year,” Cooper said.

Much to the delight of first year head coach Trisha Raniewicz.

“I think anytime you have a year under your belt at the college level it helps you see the game a little bit differently, helps you slow down a little bit more and read a defense,” Raniewicz said.

“Point guard is really hard, I played point guard in college so I kind of know but it’s not an easy position,” she added.

Cooper ended with eight points and team high- five assists and three steals.

Aside from Cooper’s play, sophomore forward/center Miranda Valentin nearly collected a double-double at 10 points and eight rebounds.

She was tied for team-high in points with sophomore forward Crystal Lomax.

“You just have to post up, you just have to know the size of the person guarding you and where they are,” Valentin said.

Four of Valentin’s eight rebounds came on the offensive end, something that the Falcons took advantage of during the game.

“It’s both [size and effort]. I thought we could get them on the boards and put backs,” Raniewicz said.

The Tartars were out rebounded on the offensive end 19-6. Something that the El Camino Compton head coach Brittney Blankenship was not happy about.

“I think it was based off of effort. I don’t think we did a good job trying to match the intensity they brought to the glass,” Blankenship said.

The Falcons came out strong ending the first quarter with a huge 20-point lead, 26-6.

However, it was inevitable but not a good characteristic to have according to Raniewicz.

“It was our first home game in three months, first time in front of fans. Maybe it was a little bit of that maybe it was the fact we were up big in the first half [but] you’ve got to fight those things,” Raniewicz said.

She continued, “Our goal was to keep them under 40 [points] tonight and we held them at 32 [points] and they accomplished that, so they should be proud of themselves for that.”

One thing changed in terms of emotions in the fourth quarter, when sophomore forward/center Ashley Flores re-entered the game.

Flores expressed it was safe to say she is the heart of the team.

“I would say yeah, but at the same time it’s all of us. Each of us has something to bring to the table.”

Flores is returning this season after a severe knee injury that cut her season short last year.

Raniewicz is beyond in support of the type of person and player Flores is and has become.

“I just think she’s that intangible kid. Those things might not show up on a stat line but she just does those little things that help a team win,” Raniewicz said.

Flores has already scored a season high 15 points on two separate occasions this season.

One thing became apparent during one-sided affair and that was the sophomore to freshmen ratio among to the two squads.

Ten of the 13 Cerritos team are freshmen, on the other hand El Camino has nine freshmen to only two sophomores. That is something that Blankenship very aware of.

Cerritos will try to find success against the balance of Mt. San Antonio with its seven sophomores and eight freshmen Friday, Jan. 8.

“Experience is something that you can’t teach. We had to come out a play an almost perfect game and we almost did the complete opposite. Hats off to [Cerritos] they played well,” Blankenship admitted.