By Gabriel Crosetti and C.J. Peterson
@GABECROSETTI and @CJPETERSON51
The men’s basketball program at Las Positas College is only in its 10th season, so it’s a small sample size. But this year’s edition is looking more and more like the best squad in school history.
With six games remaining, the Hawks are on pace to break the school’s record for wins set in 2011-12 when LPC went 22-8. That year, under coach Tony Costello, the program’s founder who died in 2013, the Hawks ranked as high as seventh in the region and thirteenth in the state.
Second-year coach James Giacomazzi has the Hawks 18-4 with six games to play. They are locks to make the playoffs for the third consecutive seasons, which has never happened in the history of Las Positas basketball.
But the biggest argument that could place this year’s LPC’s team as the best in school history came on Jan. 18 of this year.
The Hawks beat perennial power, City College of San Francisco — on the BUCKEYES’ home court. It was the first time in school history the Hawks beat CCSF also marking the first time Las Positas has upset the No. 1 ranked team in the state.
“It shows that we can beat anyone. So we play with that intensity, and we just try to bring that intensity every day to practice and to the games,” said sophomore guard Kameron Johnson.
Although this season has been a booming success thus far, a mere playoff appearance doesn’t seem to fit this season’s expectations. Coming off of a sweet sixteen collapse from last season, the Hawks know that just making the big dance isn’t enough.
Even though competing for a state championship may still be a few seasons away, advancing past the sweet sixteen in redemption fashion is a much more reasonable goal.
Strong offensive output, a savvy, veteran-dense roster and a hunger for success all add up to a recipe that has an elite eight appearance written all over it.
Averaging 80.0 points per game, the Hawks have improved by nearly two points from last year’s season’s average.
And with the majority of their buckets coming from inside the paint, this looks like a trend that will continue, especially in playoff basketball where points come at a premium.
Las Positas has also been able to retain nearly half of their players from the 2015-16 season. Kameron Johnson and Caleb Baskett are a couple to name on top of last season’s leading scorer Keith Hunter.
Keeping these veterans around will play a major role in the playoffs as many of the team’s players will have there once before.
At a level in which players only have two years of eligibility, having playoff experience in nearly half of the team’s roster is a clear advantage for Las Positas.
Also, with last season’s playoff loss still fresh in the minds of those LPC’s veterans, the desire to succeed has been amplified.
Like most people, Las Positas has used failure to motivate themselves. Redemption can be a powerful force.
While Las Positas looks like a contender on paper, the 12 teams ranked ahead of them in the state are not the Hawk’s biggest worry. Instead, their biggest obstacle may be themselves.
This was perhaps most evident in the win against CCSF, where LPC almost the blew a ten-point lead by committing lazy fouls and taking bad shots.
By winning, the Hawks saw what they are capable of accomplishing while also getting a taste of what can happen when they don’t play to their full potential.
As the season winds down and the possibility of what might be a historic year for the Hawks comes into focus, coach Giacomazzi says he refuses to let his team get too far ahead of themselves.
“We have six one game playoffs left. If we win all six, we’ll be the champions. And I don’t know about history, or this school or whatever, but I do know that if we go 6-0, we’ll have a banner for the basketball program in the gym this year. And that would be very special.”