The Las Positas men’s basketball team is 2-1 since their win against Skyline College on Jan. 22. The team is still trying to find a level of consistency throughout their games in conference play, but standout performances by key members of the team have kept the team afloat.
Still, the team seems to play down to inferior opponents and rise to the occasion when playing competition at their level. The Hawks had an impressive win against College of San Mateo and survived what have been a huge upset against Ohlone College, but also lost in a blowout against No. 1 ranked City College of San Francisco. With six games left in the season, the Hawks will need to find a level of consistency to keep their state title hopes alive.
The Hawks performed very well against College of San Mateo. It was an all-around team effort with four of five starters scoring in double figures. Sophomore Michael Hayes led all scorers with 30 points while also going 10-10 from the free throw line.
Freshman point guard Lee Jones Jr. also turned in his best performance of the season with 22 points and 4 assists. The team won 100-85 on the road.
The team struggled against City College of San Francisco. City College, the No. 1 ranked team in the state, had not lost a game to this point and held the top spot in the conference.
The game started off well for the Hawks as they jumped out to a 16-8 lead with 12:02 left in the first half. From then on, it was all City College. City College led the game at half 48-37 after going on a 12-1 run to end the first half.
City College went on a tear to start the second half. Every other bucket scored for them was either a three or a dunk, shifting the momentum of the game. Though the Hawks put up a good fight, they lost the game 110-74, their worst loss of the season.
Hayes was a bright spot for the team, scoring 39 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the loss. Hayes stated that the inability to stick to the game plan ultimately cost the team.
“We went away from the game plan,” Hayes said. “We stuck to it for the first 15 minutes of the game, and we were playing strong and hard, but we ended up going away from what we practiced all week.”
The Hawks then went on to play Ohlone College on January 31st in what seemed to be an easy win for the Hawks. The Hawks played Ohlone on January 10, and won 90-64 at home. Ohlone, winless in conference play, has lost six straight since the loss to the Hawks.
To combat the lack of size and athleticism that Ohlone has, they went to a 1-2-2 zone, daring the Hawks to shoot the ball from the perimeter. The Hawks found trouble throughout the first half and didn’t pull away until Freshman Matt Roseby drilled 3 3-pointers in a row to end the half with a 41-30 lead.
The second half started off slow for the Hawks as they let Ohlone creep back into the game. Starting point guard Isaiah Cabrera lit up the Hawks in the second half with 6 3-pointers in the second half alone.
Ohlone tied the game with just under 12 seconds left. Jones Jr. converted a floater to end the game at the buzzer, narrowly escaping what would have been the biggest upset of the season. The Hawks won in a nail biter 71-69.
A win is a win regardless of who the Hawks were playing. This game was especially important for the Hawks, needing all the momentum they can get going into the playoffs.
“This win means a lot. We needed a comeback victory,” Jones Jr. said after the win. “We needed to get back in the right direction, so it felt good.”
The Hawks’ toughest part of the schedule is out of the way. They played five of the last eight games on the road and now will play four of the next six games at home including rematches with Chabot and City College at home.
The team will need to build off the good wins they had and learn from their tough losses to be at full strength come playoff time. With six games left in the season, the Hawks need every win they can get to propel themselves into state championship contenders.
Nathan Canilao is the sports editor of The Express. Follow him @nathancanilao.