Hamiltons lift S.J. Bosco over Pasadena

MONROVIA -- It was one of those family affairs.

Someone, however, had to end up the winner. Consoling the loser was a necessary evil, in fact.

Nevertheless, Tuesday evening's Southern California Regional playoff game was a gathering the Los Angeles-based Hamilton family won't soon forget.

With the score tied and the finals seconds ticking off the fourth quarter clock, Daniel Hamilton from Bellflower St. John Bosco hit what proved to be the winning shot for the Braves in a 53-51 victory over Pasadena in a Division III semifinal showdown at Monrovia High School.

The bank-shot in the lane with 1.7 seconds left was made over the outstretched arms of his cousin, the Bulldogs' senior Blake Hamilton.

In the meantime, Braves teammate and older brother, junior Isaac Hamilton, was on the court and watched things unfold as his sophomore sibling sealed the deal.

Blake Hamilton was left to think about what could have been.

“I have to give my little cousin credit, he hit a big shot,'' Blake Hamilton said. “You never like to lose, no matter what the situation is. If you have to lose, I'd rather it be to someone in my family. I'm happy for my cousins, I guess. I came out on the short of the stick.''

Blake Hamilton did his best to keep second-seeded Pasadena (29-7) close. The senior wing scored six points early on to give the Bulldogs a 16-14 lead at the end of one. He added eight points in the second quarter to maintain a two-point advantage at the break.

The intensity level picked up in the second half and UCLA coach Ben Howland was in attendance, presumably to catch the highly-touted Hamilton brothers in action. The tandem has some strong family bloodlines, after all. Older brother, Jordan Hamilton, plays for the Denver Nuggets.

Isaac Hamilton scored a pair of baskets in the fourth quarter to give sixth-seeded St. John Bosco (25-7) a three-point lead with less than two minutes left in the game.

Blake Hamilton answered with a bucket inside the paint to tie the score up, 51-51, with 36 seconds remaining. That sequence, of course, set the stage for Daniel Hamilton.

“We have the bragging rights now,'' Daniel Hamilton said.

Play got physical in the third quarter. Isaac Hamilton went for a dunk, Blake Hamilton met him at the rim to deny the opportunity, and a foul was called after the collision. Isaac Hamilton made both free throws and the Braves led, 42-38, to start the fourth quarter.

“I can remember me, my brother and Blake playing basketball in the backyard growing up,'' Isaac Hamilton said. “We've always been competitive. It's Hamilton rivalry. It doesn't get better than that. It was a fun game. All of our family was here to see the game.''

Blake Hamilton finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Daniel Hamilton had 16 points. Isaac Hamilton added 13.

Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.