The goal for Coronado’s boys basketball team was to make Silverado come out of its vaunted 3-2 zone defense by the end of the third quarter.
It took a little longer for that to happen, but the Cougars didn’t mind.
Jake DesJardins finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Coronado pulled away in the second half to earn a 64-55 victory Thursday in the Division I Sunrise Region semifinals at Liberty.
Kennedy Koehler added 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Cougars (20-4), who won their 10th straight game and advanced to the region final for the first time in school history. They will play Eldorado, a 68-64 winner over Foothill, at 7 p.m. today at Liberty.
“This group that we have, we talk about acting like men and playing like men, and they do,” Coronado coach Jeff Kaufman said. “Our first goal was to win the league by going undefeated. We wouldn’t have been happy with anything else. They did that.
“Our next goal, one game at a time, let’s win this region. That’s what it’s about. Of course it’s exciting to be here, but they’re focused.”
Coronado made 10 of its 18 field-goal attempts in the second half and forced the Skyhawks (19-9) out of their 3-2 zone early in the fourth quarter after Caden Farley knocked down a 3-pointer as part of a 10-3 spurt that gave the Cougars a 49-44 lead.
Coronado then put the game out of reach with two key defensive plays. Bryce Savoy (16 points) came up with one of his three steals and went coast to coast for a layup, and DesJardins had a steal and dunk on the ensuing possession to put the Cougars on top 59-46 with 2:43 remaining.
DesJardins had 13 points and 10 boards after halftime but was helped off the court with 14.2 seconds remaining after he twisted his right ankle during a scramble for a loose ball.
Kaufman said the 6-foot-8-inch senior, who posted a triple-double in the quarterfinal victory against Las Vegas on Wednesday, is expected to play against Eldorado (13-10).
“He’s on a mission,” Kaufman said. “Jake’s been with us since sixth grade, and he works hard, and he’s focused. He wants this, and he’s not going to let anyone take it from him.”
Errol Newman led Silverado with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Kris Coe added 11 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Skyhawks, who reached the region semifinals after winning one game last season.
Silverado shot 62.5 percent from the field in the first half (15-for-24), and its zone defense forced Coronado into 17 3-point attempts as the Skyhawks took a 35-32 halftime lead.
Silverado led 41-39 after Jordan Waugh gathered a loose ball under the basket and scored on a reverse layup from a tough angle with 2:50 remaining in the third quarter. But the Skyhawks offense went cold, making only one field goal over the next 6:23.
“We did exactly what we were hoping to do,” Kaufman said. “We sped them up and kind of took them out of their game.”
Eldorado 68, Foothill 64 — No area team has played more close games this season than Eldorado.
That experience paid dividends against the Falcons.
Carl Crayon scored 27 points, and the Sundevils withstood a furious fourth-quarter rally to advance to region title game for the first time since 2011.
Eldorado (13-10) has played 13 games decided by seven points or less, including four overtime games, and now is 8-5 in those contests.
“They’re used to it,” Sundevils coach Reggie Ingram said.
Shane Barnes added 13 points and nine rebounds, and Carmonte Jones added 12 points for Eldorado, which led by as many as nine points late in the third quarter and was up 53-46 early in the fourth.
But Barnes picked up his fourth foul with 6:16 left in the fourth quarter, and when Crayon went to the bench with his fourth foul less than a minute later and Foothill (12-16) took advantage.
Dylan Hushaw made two 3-pointers, the second of which gave the Falcons a 59-58 lead with 3:45 to play. Barnes and Crayon returned shortly after and responded with back-to-back 3-pointers to put Eldorado back on top 64-59.
“I think the other kids that came in the game did a really good job of keeping it tight while we were giving (Barnes and Crayon) enough time so they could be successful and finish out the rest of the game,” Ingram said.
Foothill closed to 64-63 and had two chances to take the lead in the final 30 seconds but was unable to convert.
Crayon made two free throws to put the Sundevils up 66-63 with 25.3 seconds before Marvin Coleman went 1-for-2 at the foul line for Foothill.
After Barnes went 1-for-2 from the line at the other end to give Eldorado a three-point advantage, Dereonte Allen came up with a steal with two seconds left to seal the victory for the Sundevils, who split with Foothill during the regular season.
Crayon added six rebounds, two assists and two blocks before fouling out with 19.4 seconds left. He was 8-for-13 from the field, including four of Eldorado’s seven 3-pointers.
“He’s our leader. He’s the person that steps up when we need him to step up,” Ingram said. “When it comes down to it, everybody on the team feels confident when he has the ball in his hands.”
Mauricio Smith had 11 points and 12 rebounds for Foothill, which also got 11 points and 10 rebounds from Coleman and 11 points from Devon Erb. Jeron Bodin added 10 points for the Falcons.