Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Falcons win triple overtime thriller as Riley Hamilton hit the game winning three pointer

Carlos Ruiz
No. 1 Demetrius Thomas, the reigning South Coast Conference Player of the Year, goes hard to the basket. Thomas played 54 minutes in Friday’s game, as he totaled 25 points and 14 rebounds, for an MVP worthy showing.

With 1.8 seconds left in the third overtime of the game, sophomore guard Riley Hamilton (No. 4) hit a go-ahead three to lift the Falcons, 76-75, crushing the hearts of Riverside College coaches, players and fans in the process.

“I was trying to just get the ball and be able to make a play, originally it was just to drive to the hoop but they sagged off so I just shot it and I’m glad it went in,” Hamilton said of the play that sealed the game for his team on Friday.

Hamilton saved the Falcons season twice in the game—first in the second overtime when he stepped to the line with 12 seconds remaining and made two clutch free throws to give the Falcons a three point advantage—which sent the game into a third OT, after a Riverside player tied it with a three pointer and then again with the game winning three pointer.

No. 1 guard Riley Hamilton drives in for the layup. Hamilton had 10 points in the game, including his game clinching three pointer. Photo credit: Carlos Ruiz

Both teams shot poorly throughout—in the 30 percent range on field goals and three point tries, while also shooting an abysmal 50 percent from the charity stripe.

Cerritos College, winner of the South Coast Conference divisional title— jumped out to an early lead of 8-2 and about half way through the first half, the team found itself on the right side of a 12 point lead.

The Falcons were up double digits for most of the first half and maintained a steady control on the game—eventually going into the locker room up six.

Even after playing a team-high 54 minutes, No. 1 Demetrius Thomas still said he felt pretty good.

Thomas was recently named the SCC Player of the Year or “MVP,” as he called it for his standout play in the 2017-18 season, after averages of 17 points and eight rebounds—while averaging almost two steals and over a blocked shot per outing.

Demetrius Thomas (No. 1) lets out a roar after his teammate Riley Hamilton connected on the game winner. The MVP of his conference, Thomas had 25 points and 14 rebounds. Photo credit: Carlos Ruiz

He undoubtedly had an MVP caliber performance in this game notching a game leading 25 points and also a game high 14 boards, with most of his damage being done in the first half.

“In those triple overtimes, I just wasn’t as aggressive as I was in the first half,” Thomas said.

Although, his team shot poorly 15 feet away from the basket, at the free throw line, he shot a perfect 5-5 with the game clock still, from the foul line.

“My coach is always on us about our free throws,” Thomas said, “so [I] try to knock them all down and I did it, so I just got to take my time More at the free throw line—get relaxed and follow through.”

The game saw eight ties and 11 lead changes take place over the course of the 55 minutes (including 15 OT minutes).

Jonathan Guzman, No. 21 had a double-double and not one from the in-n-out on Alondra, but a double-double that he achieved through racking up a 10 points, 10 rebounds sandwich.

No. 21 Jonathan Guzman rises up for two. Guzman had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Photo credit: Carlos Ruiz

Although, Guzman said he wasn’t particularly happy about his performance.

“I feel like I played bad—I could’ve played a lot better, but I’m glad we won, if it wasn’t for Riley [Hamilton], we wouldn’t be ecstatic right now, Guzman said.

“This should’ve never went to three overtime’s honestly,” Guzman said, “our free throws were really bad.”

Keshaun Mack (No. 14) went 2-10 on his freebies, he described what went through his mind each time he missed a FT, he said, “Man my teammates going to kill me for missing these free throws.”

He made one free throw to tie the game in the first OT with 45 seconds on the clock, but missed the following attempt that would have essentially gave the Falcons the win.

No. 14 Keshaun Mack goes up for a shot attempt. Mack had 12 points in the game, scoring clutch shots in OT. Photo credit: Carlos Ruiz

However, Mack kept the team in the second OT with back to back buckets late.

“I was able to make a couple shots—to keep the team within [reach],” Mack said.

Head coach Russ May said, “You gotta play all the way to the very last buzzer—I’m so proud of our guys for not giving up, because it would have been easy for them to think that the game was lost.”

Assistant coach Jordan Littlejohn said his nerves were bad after the game and he’s never been apart of a triple overtime game.

“That’s the heart of a champion, you got to have those experiences,” Littlejohn said.

Crowd reaction.jpeg
Players, coaches and the crowd react to Riley Hamilton’s (No. 4) game winner, with 1.8 seconds on the clock. Nearly everyone had their jaws dropped in amazement. Photo credit: Carlos Ruiz

Cerritos College men’s basketball team will play at home versus Santiago Canyon College on March 3 at 7 p.m. in the Southern California Regional playoffs Final

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About the Contributors
Jah-Tosh Baruti, Staff Writer
Jah-Tosh Baruti is author of the sports column titled Shmackem. Previously he was sports editor for Talon Marks. Baruti also took home an award for his sports writing at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges’ state conference in 2018.
Carlos Ruiz, Managing Editor
Carlos Ruiz is the Managing Editor for Talon Marks. He admires photography, and even launched his own website and has dedicated his Instagram to his work. His dream job is always changing, but most recently, he would like to travel the world taking photos, or something having to do with photojournalism. He’s hopeful to continue working on a newspaper staff at the CSU he decides to attend.  
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Falcons win triple overtime thriller as Riley Hamilton hit the game winning three pointer