Unlike the outcome of most boys basketball games, the Griffins came out on the bottom of the lop-sided score. They were dominated 69-51 in the semi-finals of the CIF Division 4A tournament by Campbell Hall in the Providence High School gym on Friday, February 27.
In the loss, the Griffins fans saw their one of their first glimpses of the team’s faults against a bigger and better opponent. The team struggled finding the basket in the first half, starting out poorly.
The Griffins had their normal starting line up in, with freshmen Mike Meadows and Kihei Clark, and seniors Austin Butler, Brendon Ferguson, and Josh Rosen.
The Vikings got out to a quick lead, 15-5, due to senior Aaron Holiday’s two consecutive threes. He finished the half with 20 points, shooting over 80%.
In an interview with Daily News Reporter Jacob Pollon, Head Coach Mike Hamilton said, “they didn’t miss. They didn’t miss any shots.”
Holiday, who has committed to UCLA for next season, finished with 34 points, leading both teams in scoring and put on a shooting and passing display.
Accompanying Holiday, were senior brothers Justin Bell-Williams and Gabriel Williams, as well as the juniors Jordan Cohen and Gabriel Salazar.
The Griffins started out poorly and never really caught up to the fast paced Campbell Hall team. The Vikings forced turnovers and ran fast breaks; this tough defense and running game plan is usually used by the Griffins against the weaker opponents.
The Vikings kept to their game plan and led by 21 points at halftime.
The Griffins seemed hopeless at the offensive end, rarely getting the ball inside and seemed unable to free up their shooters, Meadows, senior Mateen Zar, and Ferguson. Meadows shot the ball only five times in the first half.
A long first half for the Griffins including seven misses at the charity stripe, poor shooting from the field, and the harsh defense of the Vikings. However, the Griffins finished with a 7-2 run in the last three minutes of the second quarter and scored the first five points of the second half.
The score was now trimmed to 46-29, but the Griffins could not get closer. Holiday played only half the third quarter but added seven points to his 20 first half points and earned two assists.
The Griffins points were evenly distributed as Meadows finished with 16, Clark with 14, Butler with 13, and Ferguson with eight. The bench play from seniors Nick Cashdan and Zar were missing from the game.
For the Vikings, along with Holiday’s 34 points, G. Bell Williams scored 12 points, Cohen had eight points, and Salazar finished with six points.
The loss brings a tough end to the CIF tournament hopes of the Griffins. But, the team will compete in the state tournament starting March 11. The location of the game and the Griffins’ opponent has not yet been decided.