By Carleen Surrena @SURRENA_C
The Las Positas Men’s basketball team has picked up right where they left off last year. They are ranked 3rd according to the California Community College Men’s Basketball Coaches Association (CCCMBCA) state preseason poll.
Their record is 4-0 overall. They started off the season with the annual Tony Costello Tip-Off Classic at the Hawks’ nest and captured the championship.
Their first challenge Thursday Nov. 3 was against the Modesto Junior College Pirates. A team Coach James Giacomazzi admitted they hadn’t been able to scout early on and did not know what to expect. The Hawks did not make many shots in the first half. It put them down 40-31 heading into the locker room to have a talk about what could be done to improve in the second half.
“I think we were too excited and had some first game jitters,” returning guard Keith Hunter said. “The second half, we picked it up.”
The Hawks did pick it up and outshot the Pirates in the second half, coming away with the win 75-72. Leading scorers included Caleb Baskett with 13 points, Aaron Berry 11 points, Keith Hunter and Kameron Johnson with 12 points each and Stokley Chaffee 10 points.
In the semi finals game Friday Nov. 4 things went a lot smoother for the Hawks against the Contra Costa College Comets.
The Hawks won 95-73. After 17 missed free throws in the first game, the Hawks turned it around and made 18 free throws in the second. They had five players score in double figures. Keith Hunter had 18 points, Caleb Baskett and Aaron Berry 14 points, Nick Evans 13 points and Stokley Chaffee 10 points.
“We played pretty unselfishly,” Giacomazzi said. “We were aggressive and confident.”
With the win over the Comets, the Hawks earned the right to play in the championship game Nov. 5 against the Butte College Roadrunners.
It seemed as though the Roadrunners couldn’t miss a shot during the first half. They made eight 3-pointers and were up 47-40 at the end of the period.
The Hawks came out in the second half and fought back, just like their first two games. With the game tied 59-59 with 13:37 remaining and Hawks guard Caleb Hasket ejected after receiving two technical fouls, the team had to come together and fight the rest of the way.
Giacomazzi took a timeout and reminded the team to just stay composed.
Hunter rounded the team up on the court at one point, and spoke with the players for a moment reminding them that they had to adapt to the environment and that the refs would be different every game.
Hunter led all scorers with 27 points including five 3-pointers. Kameron Johnson had 21 points, one of the tournament’s MVP’s for the Hawks Stokley Chaffee had 13 points, and Donald Mimms had 10 points. Sophomore guard Kameron Johnson felt the defense picked up the second half and that going forward the team just needs to start the game like that.
“Everyone on this team has a role and a responsibility,” Giacomazzi said. “I think we had three really good wins this weekend so it was exciting.”
The men also won their first road game Thursday Nov. 10 with a win over Gavilan 89-53. This time they had five players score in double digits. Keith Hunter and Stokley Chaffee had 15 points each, Aaron Berry 14 points, and Jushan Samra and Spencer Wood with 11 points.