CCSF trailed, 73-60, with 8:31 remaining before going on a 15-1 run to take the lead at 75-74 with 4:06 left on a layup by Lewis Hayes. But it was far from over.
Cerritos ended a nearly 5-minute field goal drought with a basket by Jonathan Guzman to retake the lead. San Francisco responded with a 3-point play by Terrell Brown, who was fouled on his successful lay-up, for a 78-76 advantage. Christian Alvis of Cerritos tied it for the last time with a field goal with 3:12 on the clock. Then Hayes produced the go ahead basket on a layup to make it 80-78 with 2:54 remaining.
Although the Falcons were unable to retake the lead, it was still a 1-point game at 84-83 with less than a minute to play. Hayes gave the Rams a 3-point margin at 86-83 with 43 seconds left with a put back of a missed free throw. A 3-point play (off a basket and free throw) by Eddie Stansberry added the decisive touch with 22 seconds remaining.
Hayes, a 6-6 sophomore forward from Chavez High School (Stockton) was the game's top scorer (25 points) and rebounder (7). Brown, a 6-0 sophomore guard out of Moreau Catholic (Hayward) had 17 points and five rebounds. He was 11 of 12 from the free throw line (where CCSF had a substantial 25-8 point advantage over the Falcons). Stansbury, a 6-3 sophomore guard from Archbishop Riordan (San Francisco) had 14 points.
Cerritos was led by Riley Hamilton, a 6-6 sophomore from Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley) and
Demetrius Thomas, a 6-8 sophomore from Bassick (Bridgeport, Conn.), each with 16 points.
Except for the early second half lapse by the Rams, it was a close game throughout – with 21 lead changes and eight ties.
--Coast North Conference champion CCSF has won 28 games since its only loss, 90-63, to College of the Sequoias in the Fresno City College tournament on Nov. 17.
San Francisco won recent state titles in 2011 and 2016 and was the runner-up in 2010.