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The sophomore forward Brandon Fisher proves vital down the stretch — again

Big man Jordahn Johnson menacingly defended the paint in the crucial final minutes of the Hawks’ the NorCal Regional playoff game against Yuba College. He used his leaping ability and wing span to swat anything near the rim. He used his 6-foot-8, 245 pound frame as a wall. Anything to keep the host 49ers from winning.

The whistle blew. It was trouble for the Hawks.

Johnson was called for his fifth foul, disqualifying him from the game. He was stunned. With his head drooped, hands on his hips, his lowered head shaking in disbelief, he walked off the court and took a seat on the bench. The Hawks’ chances seemed to go with him. Their defensive anchor was out.

The Hawks only other big man, Jajuan Mitchell-Cox, was ejected after being called for a Flagrant 2 foul when he made contact with a Yuba player above the shoulder in a loose-ball scenario. Las Positas had to survive some four minutes. Somehow. Hope was keeling.

But running onto the floor was sophomore forward Brandon Fisher. Coach James Giacomazzi had no choice but to go small. Fisher, a 6-foot-7, 215 forward, was now the big man in the middle as Las Positas faced elimination. They turned to their veteran sophomore.

Men’s hoop advances to the next round with another gritty performance

Fisher understood crunch time. What obstacles needed to be hurdled and the thundering environment Yuba presented. The 49ers were 26-2 in their regular season and making one final push to avoid the upset. They had all the momentum.

Fisher, with his head on straight, fire set deep in his eyes, welcomed the challenge of the No. 4-seeded 49ers. The paint became his.

He isn’t quite as tall as Johnson, but he towered in the paint. He didn’t have as much weight as Johnson, but he made sure he was felt in the paint.

He finished with seven rebounds that night, four coming in those final four minutes of the game. He came up with a huge block down the stretch. He also scored six of his nine points in that span, including the perhaps the biggest basket of the game. With the game tied at 74, he grabbed an offensive rebound on a missed Jalen Patterson 3-pointer. Fisher went back up for the basket and drawing the foul.

Fisher’s free throw made it 77-74. Las Positas would never trail again.

In the pursuit of a return trip to the state championship, the Hawks will need everybody. Saturday night, they needed Fisher. The hope of the season, the trust of his teammates, was placed on his back. Fortunately for them, he had ice in his veins.

“Brandon Fisher came up so clutch for us,” Johnson said. “He needed the opportunity and tonight he showed that opportunity.”

The crowd and environment at Yuba was electric. It got so loud in the Yuba gymnasium the floor rumbled. Giacomazzi said before the game this team hadn’t seen an environment like Yuba. The Hawks were overwhelmed there in 2020 in an a blowout loss in the first round of the playoffs. He wnated to see how this group responded. 

Fisher embodied Las Positas’ toughness on this night. When the moment came, he refused to be shaken.

“I’m a leader for the team,” he said. “I knew we had the trouble down low, Jordan fouled out. As I’m down low, I gotta bounce back, step up for Jordan to seal off our win.”

Sophomore Forward Brandon Fisher stepped up to the line for a free throw late in the second half. Photo Credit: C.J. Flores/The Express

CJ Flores is a freelance writer for Express. Follow him @Cj_mcanfores. Top photo credit C.J. Flores.

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