By Ken Simonds, Interim Athletic Director. Photos by Daryl Peterson, courtesy of Cerritos College.
Cerritos, CA – The Copper Mountain Fighting Cacti Men’s Basketball team found out Sunday afternoon that they had done just enough to earn the last seed (#24) in the CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs. Their reward…a trip to the ninth seeded Cerritos Falcons, a team that beat the Cacti by 20 points earlier in the season. The Cacti were not just happy to be in the playoffs though, they believe in their abilities to play with the best in the state. They proved it in the very difficult Inland Empire Athletic Conference, a conference that saw five of their teams makes the regional tournament and they proved it again on Wednesday night as they took down Cerritos in double overtime 94-91.
The Cacti started the game strong and had control for the first seven minutes of the contest. The Falcons woke up and hit big shot after big shot to lead by as many as nine points in the first half. The Cacti had a final answer right before halftime. The Cacti trailed 37-28 with 4:39 remaining in the half and they would close out the first 20 minutes on a 10-2 run to only trail by one entering the break and give the Cacti plenty of confidence for the rest of the contest.
The second half saw many lead changes as both teams exchanged big shots with their season on the line. The Cacti looked to take control of the game as they led by seven points with under 10 minutes to play in the game. The Falcons always had an answer to the Cacti’s runs in the game. Cerritos tied the game with 1:44 left to play, 68-68, and neither team would be able to score again in regulation as Jack Garrison‘s three pointer at the buzzer just missed for the win.
The first overtime was back and forth again. The Cacti had several leads in the five-minute period, but never by more than two points. Cerritos’s Justin Stephen’s would hit a jump shot to give the Falcon’s a one point lead with just 15 seconds remaining. The Fighting Cacti ran a play for the 6’10” presence in the middle, Jaylon Lee, who missed a layup, but was able to get an offensive rebound and get fouled on his next attempt. Lee made the first free throw to tie the contest with two seconds left, but his second attempt was strong and the two teams would play an additional five minutes.
Lydell Boyd, who had previously been held scoreless in the contest, came out and hit a three to start the second extra period for the Cacti. Antonio “Rev” Reviere scored six points in the second overtime and the Cacti hit some clutch free throws down the stretch as they never trailed in the second extra period the go on to a 94-91 victory and keep their season alive.
Garrison and Reviere lead Copper Mountain with 23 points each. Larry Holmes chipped in with 16 points and added six assists. Jaylon Lee added 15 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for another double double and Jaylan Bradberry contributed 11 points for the Cacti. The Cacti were very efficient, shooting over 50% for the contest.
Copper Mountain will travel to eighth ranked San Diego City College on Saturday to try and keep this season going. Tip is scheduled for 7 PM. The game will be live streamed. To access the game video please visit the game at www.CCCAAsports.org go to the men’s basketball scoreboard page and click on the video link under the game listing.