Cypress College has the unenviable task of opening South Coast Conference basketball play tonight at 7:30 against three-time defending conference champion Cerritos in the Falcons' gym.
Cerritos, the favorite among conference coaches to repeat as SCC champions, opened the season with a loss to Grossmont in the Fullerton College Tournament. The Falcons have won 14 straight since and open conference play with the best record of any community college team in the state at 14-1.
Cerritos, winner of 24 games last season, needed one victory in its final two conference games to win the SCC title outright, but the Falcons lost to Orange Coast and Cypress and had to settle for a tie of the conference championship with Mt. San Antonio.
Cypress, which has one of its most talented teams in recent years, brings a 10-4 record into tonight's opener. Cypress went 14-12 last season and advanced to the Shaughnessy playoffs. The Chargers, however, are ineligible for postseason play this year because of a violation in recruiting forward Jeff Livesay from Riverside.
Don Johnson, in his 20th season as Chargers coach, is just four wins shy of his 400th at Cypress and has compiled an impressive 396-165 record.
In other SCC openers tonight, Rancho Santiago (12-3) will host Golden West (4-7), Fullerton (6-7) will travel to Mt. San Antonio (10-3) and Saddleback (4-7) will be at Compton (8-6).
Orange Coast (7-6) will open SCC play Monday night at Cypress.