NORTHEAST GLENDALE — A small bounce proved the difference between winning and a continuing slide for the Glendale Community College men's basketball team Friday afternoon.
A fall-away five-foot jumper from sophomore wing Mike Johnson agonizingly bounced twice on the rim, but failed to score as time expired, allowing visiting Cerritos College to steal a 71-70 overtime victory in nonconference play.
“We competed hard and we’ve just got to do a better job of understanding time circumstances and conditions of the game,” Vaqueros Coach Brian Beauchemin said. “We just made some errors down the stretch and didn’t finish. This is unsettling and we’ll have to get better for our next game.”
With the defeat, Glendale’s losing streak expanded to four games as the Vaqueros (3-5) missed a chance to pull to .500, while the Falcons (4-4) did just that.
The Vaqueros’ last lead, 70-69, with 34.9 seconds remaining on an impressive windmill layup from sophomore guard Mark Hicks, who tied for the game-high lead with 20 points and five rebounds.
Cerritos responded 20 seconds later with the game-winning score when sophomore guard Andrew Torres responded to a double team of teammate Marquise Washington by quickly passing to Washington on a give-and-go and then finding himself wide open for the go-ahead four-footer that gave the Falcons the 71-70 lead.
“We were supposed to go to Marquise in the post and my man doubled in the post,” said Torres, whose two points came on only his second shot of the game. “Marquise got me the ball and it was all reaction.”
The score, with eight seconds left, was followed by a frantic push upcourt as Hicks fed Isaiah Howard at the top of the key.
Howard dished inside to Johnson, who faded away and then pounded the floor in disappointment after his shot rimmed out.
“We just made some errors and didn’t control the game,” Beauchemin said. “At the end, the difference was a missed five-footer.”
Glendale appeared to be in control when freshman Emerson Castaneda, formerly of St. Francis High, hit a jumper with 5:08 remaining in regulation that put the Vaqueros ahead, 62-53.
The field goal gave Glendale its largest advantage of the second half and led to a Falcons timeout.
Out of the break, Cerritos responded with a 6-0 run to pull within 62-59.
The Falcons closed within 63-61 with 1:39 left before guard Dion Nelson connected on a fade-away jumper with 1:10 left that put Glendale ahead, 65-61.
“I thought that was going to be it,” said Nelson, who tallied with eight points. “We just didn’t finish.”
Cerritos followed up with a pair of free throws and then a critical steal from Jon Benson that led to a game-tying layup from David Hall with 23 seconds left.
The blown lead mirrored a similar situation for the Vaqueros, who were ahead, 10-1, at the 14:55 mark in the first half thanks in part to a cold start from the Falcons, who missed their first eight shots and were held without a field goal for nearly the first seven minutes.
Cerritos, however, won the rest of the half, 30-20, in taking a 31-30 lead into the halftime.
Castaneda, Johnson and Gor Piachyan all scored 10 points for the Vaqueros.