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Prep Boys Basketball Playoffs: Hawks ready to keep on shocking
Silverado travels to Etiwanda for quarters
With one act of revenge against a boys basketball superpower out of the way, Silverado turns its attention to performing an encore.
The Hawks travel to face Etiwanda (24-2) tonight in the quarterfinals after pulling off a playoff shocker, upsetting third-seeded Centennial/Corona in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA playoffs on Tuesday.
The Hawks (23-5) had lost 80-46 to Centennial in December. They have a similar situation to draw upon against Etiwanda, which beat Silverado 75-59 last season. The Hawks had a 29-25 halftime lead against the Eagles, who were ranked No. 7 in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times before the game.
A close game quickly eroded into a blowout following a third quarter meltdown.
Silverado went from a one-point lead to an eight-point deficit in less than 10 seconds midway through the third quarter and never recovered.
Etiwanda’s Jordan McLaughlin was fouled by Silverado’s Mateo Jones on a 3-pointer, which he sunk. He made the foul shot. Jones’ complaints about the call earned him a technical foul and McLaughlin knocked down two more free throws. He followed with another 3-pointer to complete the game-changing run.
Jones was benched for the rest of the game after he yelled at Brannon for taking him out.
Jones said the incident has made him a better player.
“I learned that you just have to play though it no matter what,” said Jones, who is averaging 16.3 points and 4.8 assists per game this season to lead the Hawks in both categories. “The ball’s not going to go your way so you just have to work through it.
“Yes, it was a big turning point. I have to realize my team needs me, and I can’t be out there acting foolish.”
An example of that improved maturity was on display against Centennial, Brannon said.
Jones picked up his third foul in the third quarter and about a minute later was called for a flagrant foul. Brannon sat Jones after his fourth foul but told him he needed to be ready to return in short order.
“He didn’t like it, but he kept his composure,” Brannon said. “He kept his intensity up, kept his focus and kept positive. That shows what he’s learned over his high school career.”
Just as the Hawks came up with a different result against Centennial, Brannon said he felt good about the rematch with Etiwanda. He had hoped to do it earlier this season in a tournament, but the teams’ paths never crossed.
“Once again, we are a different team,” Brannon said. “We are an unselfish team right now.”
McLaughlin is likely to be a problem for the Hawks again. The junior guard is being heavily recruited by the likes of UCLA, USC, San Diego State, Arizona, Kansas, Louisville, Connecticut and many more. He averages 14.8 points per game and is coming off a 19-point performance against Great Oak in the second round. Brannon and Jones said Etiwanda, seeded sixth in Div. 1AA and ranked 24th in the nation and fourth in the state according to MaxPreps.com, is a bigger team inside this year.
While Brannon said it is an honor to be mentioned with the rest of the final eight teams alive in Div. 1AA, he’s by no means happy just playing in this game.
“Our goal from the beginning was to make a deep CIF run,” Brannon said. “Making it to the quarterfinals is nice, but we want to go a little farther than that.”
Jones added that the Hawks still have some shocking left to do.
“We are trying to shock the whole world this time,” Jones said.
Matthew Peters can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (760) 955-5365.