Hamilton High School is always well-coached and prepared for every game, under the strong gamesmanship and leadership of Head Coach Doug Harris (pictured left). After watching a loaded and athletic McClintock High School team on Wednesday evening completely dismantle a tough Boulder Creek team in the Fear The Hop Tournament quarterfinals, Harris devised a strong game plan to slow down the McClintock Chargers, and it would work, as Hamilton would slow down the game against McClintock and utilize a zone defense to help them overcome a 30-24 halftime deficit to eventually win the contest, 65-64, in narrow fashion over McClintock - advancing to the Tournament Championship Saturday evening, where they will now face the host, Mesa High School.
Hamilton lacked the offensive power of McClintock as a team, but had the athletic services of 6-foot-4 senior wing Quincy Adams (pictured right), who would throw down a monster dunk over defenders in the half-court set in the game's first half - a play which would give Hamilton the confidence they needed to overcome McClintock late. Adams played strong on the glass and defensively for Hamilton throughout the game, as he was the vocal leader for his team throughout.
After trailing at halftime, Hamilton would climb back in the second half behind strong play from 6-foot-2 senior guard Daimon Denning, and also some clutch shooting from 6-foot-6 senior wing Aaron Foote. 6-foot-5 senior post Kokea Makaila would provide toughness in the paint and be a strong force on the boards.
McClintock has a very loaded offensive lineup, but stud 6-foot-4 junior Ejay Scroggins would get in early foul trouble, and eventually foul out early in the fourth period. Talented 6-foot-4 senior wing Jaylen Wesley would do all he could to keep his team in it, but he would also pick up fouls and a technical foul in the process. 5-foot-9 junior guard Davion Butler would keep McClintock in the hunt with some big shots for his team.
The third period would end with a long, bank-shot three-pointer from 6-foot junior guard AJ Turner - giving Hamilton a narrow 45-42 lead heading in to the fourth period.
With 3:44 left to play in the contest, a three-pointer from the corner from Foote would give Hamilton some breathing room and a 56-49 lead late.
McClintock would make a nice push late in the game, after 8-straight points from 6-foot junior Shakur Davis, who would hit back-to-back three-pointers late in the contest to tie the game at 62 all, with less than a minute left to play, but a driving finish after being fouled by Hamilton's Denning, resulting in a three-point play, would give Hamilton the 65-64 lead with :27.9 seconds left, which would earn Hamilton the semi-final win over McClintock.
Hamilton will now move on to face host Mesa High School on Saturday evening @ 7:30PM in the Fear The Hop Tournament Championship. Mesa defeated a tough Desert Mountain team in their semi-final match-up, 56-45. Mesa was again led by the play of their talented duo of 6-foot-4 senior wing Talbot Cummard and 6-foot junior guard Kota Benson. It will be another coaching battle in the Championship, as Hamilton's Doug Harris and Mesa's Scott Stansberry go at it for the Tournament Championship. Should make for a very exciting game in front of a nice Mesa crowd.