SAN JOSE – Seniors Greg Hamik and Michael Hartman weren’t going
to wait around to get into a groove in Saturday’s Central Coast
Section Division I quarterfinal against Carlmont at Independence in
SAN JOSE – Seniors Greg Hamik and Michael Hartman weren’t going to wait around to get into a groove in Saturday’s Central Coast Section Division I quarterfinal against Carlmont at Independence in San Jose.
The two combined for 14 points in the first quarter as the Gilroy High boys basketball team used a 13-0 run to start the contest en route to a 17-8 first-frame advantage.
The electric start proved to be the difference as the No. 4 Mustangs defeated the No. 5 Scots 58-44 to advance to the semifinals Wednesday night against top-seeded Serra. The Padres beat Alisal 61-32 on Saturday to move through to the next round.
“It’s great when your best players get going,” GHS head coach Jeremy Dirks said. “They did the job we asked them to do – score the ball.”
Hamik scored 15 of his game-high 18 points in the first half and Hartman finished with eight points and 12 rebounds.
“I just wanted to get out there and treat it like any other game,” said Hamik, the Tri-County Athletic League’s co-Most Outstanding Player. “I was nervous but when I hit that first one that changed everything.”
After Hartman’s second bucket of the quarter made it 8-0, Hamik unleashed a corner 3-pointer, the initial of three consecutive treys in the first half. Hartman worked his way inside on the Mustangs’ ensuing possession to complete the ferocious 13-0 run.
The Mustangs’ relentlessly pesky full-court press defense kept the Scots off balance all night, making it difficult to navigate the ball past mid-court on several trips down the floor.
“Our pressure got us off to a great start and we were able to maintain,” Dirks said. “They didn’t like the pressure. We were able to stick it to them. The kids played great, especially in that first half.”
GHS disrupted Carlmont’s offense to the tune of 16 steals, including seven from Hamik alone, and forced five straight Scots’ turnovers to start the contest.
GHS led by 16 points at the break and had the same cushion heading into the fourth quarter.
Cameron Yawary provided a lift off the bench, hitting 5 of 6 from the field and 4 of 5 from the free throw line to post 16 points in the game.
“Everything just felt good today,” Yawary said. “I just found my rhythm.”
The big lead into the fourth quarter allowed for some leeway on the Mustangs’ part. Though they converted 10 of 17 from the free throw line, they threw up a goose egg from the field, missing all four shots they attempted.
“We did enough to win and that’s all that matters,” Dirks said. “If we can win ugly that’s great. We’ll take them anyway we can. Other than that, it was a great win.”
Dolapo Opere pulled down a game-high 14 boards to go along with his eight points, all from the free throw line, and Andrel Gaines quietly contributed six points.
The Mustangs’ opponent Wednesday night, Serra High School, finished in second behind St. Francis in the highly competitive West Catholic Athletic League. Included in its 23-5 overall record is a 6-1 mark on a neutral floor. The Padres currently sit as the No. 2-ranked team in the CCS, according to maxpreps.com.
Tip-off for Wednesday’s showdown is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. back at Independence High School in San Jose.
Defending champ Bellarmine and Santa Teresa, who defeated the Mustangs back in December, 59-52, in the finals of the Sobrato Bulldog preseason tournament, cap the night’s action in the other semifinals game slated to begin at 7: 30 p.m.