BY CRISTIAN SANDOVAL
Cypress men’s basketball team suffered their tenth loss of the season to Irvine Valley College 46-44 and placed in sixth place of the Orange Empire Conference with a record of 14-10
Cypress had hoped to win their third continuous game to keep their momentum going as the end of the season approaches.
With four games left in the season, the Chargers will play three consecutive home games and will finish the season visiting Riverside City College.
The Chargers began the game with two quick lay-ups from freshmen forward Hadi Essayli and freshman forward Felix Reeves.
Sophomore guard Tommie Flanagan added to the lead with a three-pointer, putting the Chargers up 7-3 at the 12:25 mark in the first half.
The Lasers answered back with two lay-ups of their own from sophomore guard Luc Krystkowiak and freshmen forward Charlie Henderson, whose size made a difference inside the paint throughout the game, tying the game 7-7 with eight minutes left in the half.
“They’re taller. So we wanted to make sure we sprinted and ran but they did a good job in controlling the pace,” said Cypress Head Coach Andrew Alhadeff.
To finish the first half freshman guard Grant Sii helped the Charges go on an 11-4 run who scored seven of those points. Sii finished the game as the Chargers lead score of the night totaled 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.
Cypress went into halftime leading the game 21-14.
Defensively the Chargers finished the first half on a really good note, forcing the Lasers to shoot 16 percent from field goal range.
The Chargers started the second half by adding to their lead after Reeves’ drive-in lay-up and freshmen guard Trent Goldmann’s three-pointer putting Cypress up 16-26 at the 17:34 mark.
The Lasers responded by going on a 9-0 run cutting the Chargers lead to 25-26 with 12 left in the game.
The last ten minutes of the game became a back and forth three-point showcase. Cypress’ sophomore center Devion Smith-Coleman knocked down his three-point jump shot putting the Chargers up by seven.
Irvine Valley College didn’t back down and answered with back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore guard Aaron Strings cutting their deficit to one. On the following play freshmen guard Ramiah Adedigba added to the sequence as he scored his three-point jump shot keeping the Chargers up in the game 37-34.
With two minutes remaining in the game freshman guard, Gavin O’Neill three-point jump shot put the game in reach for the Lasers as it reduced the Chargers lead to only one point, 41-40.
Time was running out and with 46 seconds left in the game Adedigba missed his three-point jump shot in hopes of extending the Chargers’ lead and Krystowiak came up with a defensive rebound and in transition was fouled by Cypress.
Krystowiak knocked down two huge clutch free throws giving the Lasers the lead 42-41.
Two more free throws from Krystowiak, with 15 seconds left, sealed the game and the victory for the Lasers.
Next Up: Cypress will host their second of a four-home game stretch against Golden West College on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 5 p.m.