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COLLEGE BASKETBALL PREVIEW : Trade Tech Rolls Into Playoffs

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

On Saturday night, 32 of Southern California’s best community college basketball teams began their second season.

During the regular season, records and averages were most important, but a team’s seeding becomes the most significant number in the post-season.

Here is a brief overview of the three area teams that have made the playoffs:

Los Angeles Trade Tech--(22-8 overall, 6-4 in conference, No. 11 seed) Trade Tech enjoyed one of its most successful seasons. The Beavers, who tied with Los Angeles Community College for second place in the Southern California Athletic Conference, began the season at 9-1 and finished with more wins than any other area team.

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Trade Tech’s winning ways this season were established with the help of two sophomores--point guard Eric Fuller, an All-Conference selection who averaged 19 points and 10 assists, and forward Ryan Mack, who averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds.

The Beavers, coached by Jeff Kritzer, are winners of five straight games and have momentum heading into the playoffs.

Trade Tech played a home game against Barstow College, the No. 22 seed, in the first round Saturday night. (See Sports, Section C.)

Los Angeles Community College--(14-15 overall, 6-4 in conference, No. 20 seed) LACC’s regular season will be remembered for the game that got away.

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On the final game of the season, the Cubs lost at Trade Tech in overtime, 82-80, on a buzzer-beating jump shot by Fuller. LACC also lost sole possession of second place in the conference.

In that loss, the Cubs were without the services of Kevin Griffis, an All-Conference selection who averaged 15 points and four assists.

Despite a 3-10 start, the Cubs finished the season at 14-15 to tie Trade Tech for second place in the conference.

LACC, coached by Mike Miller, played at Mt. San Jacinto, the No. 13 seed, in the first round on Saturday night. (See Sports, Section C.)

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East Los Angeles College--(14-17 overall, 4-6 in conference, No. 30 seed) Other than barely making it into the 32-team tournament, the only bright spot in an otherwise lackluster season was Isaac Burton.

The Conference co-MVP averaged 24 points, 11 rebounds, five steals and three assists this year.

“In a bad season, Isaac was definitely the good thing,” Assistant Coach Rob Rivera said.

East L.A. traveled to Saddleback, the No. 3 seed, for its first round playoff game Saturday night. (See Sports, Section C.)

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