St. John Bosco eliminates Calabasas

CALABASAS -- The St. John Bosco boys' basketball team is used to playing, and winning, close games. The quarterfinal game of the CIF State Division III Southern California Regional against Calabasas was no different.

St. John Bosco beat Calabasas, 75-71, in overtime in a matchup of top-20 teams in the ESPN Los Angeles rankings. Calabasas is the No. 13 team and St. John Bosco is No. 17. St. John Bosco moves on to the semifinals of the Division III Southern California Regional.

The Braves outscored the Coyotes, 10-6, in the overtime period. Isaac Hamilton scored four points in the extra period and helped give his team a four-point advantage in the opening minutes of overtime.

St. John Bosco coach Derrick Taylor said taking the lead early in overtime gave his team an edge.

“It’s somewhat of a psychological advantage,” Taylor said. “They (Calabasas) were really playing uphill. That was important.”

Hamilton finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and had five assists. He came alive in the second quarter, scoring 10 points. He followed up with another 10-point quarter in the third and was 9-for-11 from the free-throw line in the game.

“I had to turn him loose and I had to get him some more shots,” Taylor said. “I had to open the offense up for him.”

The game ended tied in regulation, 65-65. Calabasas sophomore Jeremy Lieberman scored a basket in the closing seconds to tie the score. St. John Bosco’s Mark Uy put his team ahead by two points, 65-63, with a free throw before Lieberman’s basket.

The score was tied five times in the fourth quarter. Calabasas had a three-point lead at one point. St. John Bosco (24-7) rallied to take a three-point lead, 63-60, with less than two minutes to play. It was a tight, see-saw game from the opening tipoff.

“We’re not bothered by close games,.” Taylor said. “We knew that we could come through. We’re used to close games, so we didn’t panic.”

Lieberman finished with 23 points and five assists for Calabasas (28-4). Teammate Spencer Levy also scored 23 points and made four 3-pointers.

Daniel Hamilton scored 16 points for St. John Bosco. Darryl Matthews scored 11 points and had 15 rebounds.