Red-Hot Cerritos Makes El Camino Red-Faced, 102-78

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Who were the imposters wearing El Camino's blue uniforms last night in the Cerritos College gym?

Whoever they were, they couldn't shoot, play defense for long or hang on to the ball.

Difficult to believe it was the real McCoy. The Warriors, who defeated Cerritos by 12 points in mid-November, couldn't come closer than a 15-point deficit against the defending state champions in the second half of Saturday's South Coast Conference game.

The result was an embarrassing 102-78 loss to the unranked Falcons, who have only one returning starter from last year's championship team.

Cerritos improved its record to 14-10 and 1-1 in the SCC, while El Camino fell to 16-6, 1-2 in the league.

"What happened?" asked El Camino Coach Ron McClurkin. "Don't look at me. I don't know what happened."

Poor shooting (26 of 70 in the game) and an array of costly turnovers put the Warriors behind, 50-32, at halftime.

The problems started midway through the first half, when El Camino fell behind 17-27 after a two-minute dry spell that included bricks from the entire crew.

Then the Warriors had a 3 1/2-minute scoreless period that put them behind, 38-19, after a pair of free throws by Cerritos' Edgar Loera with 5:58 left to the break.

From that point, things only got worse for El Camino, whose defense proved ineffective against Cerritos' lethal outside shooting. Falcon sophomore guard Doug Newby had 20 points in the first half, including six of six three-pointers.

Cerritos' lead only got bigger as the second half got under way. Russ May's 10-foot jumper put the Falcons ahead, 67-42, with 12:34 left in the game.

David Keeter's three-point shot followed by Larry Lockley's lay-in with 3:03 remaining shaved the lead to 15, but hopes of a Warrior comeback were long gone.

In four years in the SCC, El Camino has never beat Cerritos at home, but Falcon Coach Jack Bogdanovich never thought his club could defeat the seventh-ranked Warriors by this much.

"We just got up on them," he said. "Last time we tried that it didn't work."

Keeter led El Camino with 25 points and Lockley had 22.

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