Disappointment was apparent as the Hawks walked off the floor at West Hills College. Heads were in jerseys and players quickly walked to the men’s locker room while the West L.A. Wildcats celebrated their first round win over the Hawks.
As players walked out, there was still a look of shock on their faces. The Hawks had the most historic season in school history and the run ended in a loss in the first round of the state playoffs. The team, mostly made up of freshmen, fought until the end, but came up short.
But the season was not in any way a disappointment.
The Hawks finished with a 27-4 record, had multiple players make the All- Conference and All-State teams and made the Elite 8 of the state playoffs for the first time in school history.
Players like Jordahn Johnson and Dathan Satchell had career seasons for the Hawks. Head Coach James Giacomazzi had one his best coaching seasons for the Hawks as he finished with a winning percentage of .871.
And the Hawks did this after not play- ing the 2020-21 season due to COVID-19. Though the Hawks finished the season
with a loss, there was more to be proud about after the season ended. This was the best team in school history and a major- ity of the team will be coming back next season.
“I’m immensely proud of those guys. We got another banner in the gym, they broke school records and they went 27-4,” said Giacomazzi. “We have a lot of youth so we’re excited about the future. But for what this team did, not a lot of people were
expecting so I’m really proud of our team.” The Hawks looked like a team that was going to contend for a state title from the get go. They started off the season with a loss to Butte College, but after that they rattled off 16 straight wins including wins over West Valley College and Fresno City College. The streak was the longest in
The Hawks were able to get it done
on both ends of the floor as well. They finished with an offensive net efficiency rating of .267, good for 7th in the state. Defensively, they finished fourth in total rebounds allowed at 29.4.
When it came to the playoffs, the Hawks picked up two big wins over Porterville and Columbia that pushed them to the Elite 8. Both games were extremely close and the Hawks were able to pull out the win.
When it came to the first round of the Elite 8, the Hawks played a hard fought game against the best team from southern California in the West L.A. Wildcats. The Hawks were able to keep it close the entire way, but ran out of gas in the final minutes and lost by 13.
Despite the anticlimactic end to the season, Hawks’ players held their heads up and realized how big the accomplishments were that they achieved.
“Making the Elite 8 was the highlight of the season,” said Johnson. “We made school history.”
The players also got something more out of the season than just basketball. The players that played for the Hawks this year built bonds that are going to last for a long time. Even though players will be looking to get out of Livermore, they will always remember the times they had on and off the floor.
“The way we came in and gelled as a team, there was always good vibes in the locker room,” said Satchell. “We were always laughing and joking around, there was never a dull moment.”
The camaraderie and chemistry was a big reason for the Hawks success. The locker room was more of a family rather than a team. Even though the Hawks had one focus the entire season, the environ- ment was loose and fun.
Whether it was poking fun at Johnson or laughing because Isaiah and Domonick Victor would get in roast battles, the team always found time to be loose and enjoy the moment.
The Hawks season comes to a close, but there is a lot to look forward to going into next year. The team will be returning nine players including Johnson, Domonick and Isaiah Victor and all-defensive first team player Malik Jackson.
And leading the charge will be Giacomazzi who will be returning for his seventh season as Hawks’ head coach. The man who has led the team to seven con- secutive winning seasons has no intentions of leaving anytime soon.
“I’m gonna retire here, this is my final destination,” said Giacomazzi.