Silverado’s boys basketball program hasn’t experienced a ton of big wins. But this year’s team might put itself in position to change all of that.
The Skyhawks are 12-2, building momentum and starting to make a case that they’re the team to beat in the Southeast League.
The most recent examples came Saturday when Silverado defeated Mojave (66-65) and Spring Valley (75-65) to advance to the championship game of the National Invitational tournament at Durango.
“Each game, they are starting to believe,” coach Ron Childress said. “It’s slowly starting to come. Over the four-year period I’ve been here, we haven’t really had big games. The Mojave game was really big.”
After beating Mojave on Saturday morning, the Skyhawks had no letdown against Spring Valley, shooting 10-for-14 in the first quarter and building a 23-18 lead.
“We’ve all started to step it up in these last two weeks,” senior point guard Ali Sabra said.
A three-point play by Isaiah Simmons to begin the second quarter pushed the lead to 26-18, and Spring Valley never got closer than six points thereafter. Anytime the Grizzlies showed signs of a surge, Silverado made a clutch shot.
Sabra threw the final dagger. After a Justin Omogun dunk brought Spring Valley to within 65-53 with 6:37 to play, Sabra calmly hit a 15-foot jumper. James Lata followed with a transition basket off of a Spring Valley turnover.
Wade Collie led Silverado with 27 points and 11 turnovers, despite playing the final 9:58 with four fouls. Sabra added 14 points, Simmons 13.
“I don’t know if you can say we’re underrated because we are ranked fourth,” Sabra said. “But I want to be ranked (number) one. This year could be the best year we’ve ever had.”
Omogun led the Grizzlies with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Jesse Chippoletti made four 3-pointers in the second half and had 18 points. Esteban Gonzalez added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
In other games in the tournament:
Canyon Springs 58, Durango 45 — Chris Willis scored 18 points to lead the Pioneers into the title game of the tourney.
Terence Stanley added 13 points for Canyon Springs, which outscored Durango 30-14 in the middle two quarters.
Marcus Falley led Durango with 19 points.
Silverado 66, Mojave 65 — Lata scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Skyhawks nipped Mojave.
Sabra and Collie scored 13 points each for the Skyhawks, who trailed 38-32 at halftime.
Mojave’s Anthony Marshall scored 14 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter. Kevin James added 18 points, Brandon Birdsong 12.
Mojave 67, Chaparral 44 — Marshall poured in 27 points, and the Rattlers never looked back after taking a 40-22 halftime lead.
James scored 12 and Birdsong 11 for Mojave.
Jerome Young led the Cowboys with 11 points.
Spring Valley 64, Chaparral 52 — Chippoletti made 10 of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter and scored 16 points to preserve the win for Spring Valley.
Anton Stallworth added 14 points, Omogun 13 and Jordan Hattar 12 for the Grizzlies.
Young led Chaparral with 13 points. Jermaine Neal had 10.
Canyon Springs 60, Cheyenne 58 — Michael Thompson’s three-point play with 2:32 remaining in overtime gave the Pioneers a lead they didn’t relinquish.
Stanley led the Pioneers with 19 points, and Thompson had 13 points and eight rebounds.
Jaylen Henry led Cheyenne with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Demetric Williams scored 13.
Cheyenne 65, Canyon Country (Calif.) 62 — Chris McCall led four players in double figures in scoring with 18 points as Cheyenne held off the Cowboys.
Jaylen Henry added 12 points for the Desert Shields.
Durango 68, Canyon Country (Calif.) 57 — Falley led all scorers with 22 points, and the Trailblazers coasted after taking a 21-9 lead.
Greg Gentry added 12 points for Durango.
Mission Secondary (Canada) 53, Rancho 44 — The Rams couldn’t recover from a two-point first quarter.
James Cammack led Rancho with 13 points.
Ribet Academy (Calif.) 63, Rancho 62 — Rancho couldn’t hold on after taking a 48-46 lead after three quarters.
Byron Bynum led Rancho with 14 points. Fabrian Dominguez added 12 points.