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The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Boys’ basketball outlasts Roosevelt to win first CIF-SS Open Division title in school history

Connor Tang
The boys’ basketball team poses with the Open Division CIF-SS title after defeating Roosevelt 54-47 in the championship game Feb. 23.

The boys’ basketball team defeated Roosevelt High School 54-47 in the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section (CIF-SS) Open Division Championship game at California Baptist University (CBU), winning their first Southern Section Open Division title in school history. Junior forward Nik Khamenia ’25 and senior guard Robert Hinton ’24 each contributed 15 points in the victory, followed by senior guard Trent Perry ’24 with 13 points. The squad improves to 30-3 on the season and 4-0 in the playoffs, currently on a ten-game win streak since their consecutive losses in January to Notre Dame and Sierra Canyon.

Khamenia started the team off strong, contributing eight first-quarter points and playing strong defense on Roosevelt’s Brayden Burries, a five-star recruit ranked 15th in the class of 2025 according to ESPN. A sequence of consecutive defensive stops for the Wolverines allowed them to take a 17-11 lead over the Mustangs in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, a corner three by junior forward Isaiah Carroll ’25 lifted the team to their largest lead of the game, 25-15. Roosevelt would quickly pull back within a double-digit deficit on a three-point foul by Burries but was never able to come within two scores of the Wolverines for the rest of the first half, the halftime score 33-27.

The Wolverines talk things over in a timeout called by Boys’ Basketball Program Head David Rebibo. (Connor Tang)

The Wolverines came out firing in the second half after consecutive scores by Perry and sophomore center Dominique Bentho ’26 brought the team back up to a ten-point advantage 37-27. However, the Mustangs would quickly score seven unanswered points to make the score 37-34 on a three by Roosevelt guard Issac Williamson, which prompted a much-needed timeout by Boys’ Basketball Program Head David Rebibo.

In an arena filled with Roosevelt fans, only a 30-minute drive from their school in Eastvale, the pressure was on the Wolverines to regain momentum. They would do just that coming out of the timeout after a 7-2 run was capitalized by a corner three from senior guard Christian Horry ’24 to make the score 44-36 going into the final quarter of play.

In the final eight minutes of the game, fouls and turnovers fed into a back-and-forth affair between the two, but Roosevelt once again was not able to come within two scores of the Wolverines. Rebounding and defense were key for the team, who ran the clock down to 1:25 leading 50-44.

But the Mustangs would not go away just yet. A corner three by Roosevelt guard Darnez Slater cut the deficit in half to 50-47, and on the subsequent possession, Perry was fouled in the bonus with 15 seconds left and would shoot two free throws.

To everyone’s surprise, the McDonald’s All-American would miss both free throws. However, on the second attempt, Burries of Roosevelt grabbed Hinton’s jersey on the loose ball, giving the Wolverines two more free throws with 15 seconds left. Hinton would ice both free throws to make the score 52-47, and the celebration began for the Wolverines in Riverside after a Roosevelt turnover.

Before defeating Roosevelt in the championship, the Wolverines went undefeated in group play defeating Corona Centennial, Sierra Canyon and St. John Bosco at home by wide margins. Perry said the team was able to adjust to the new environment after three games at home.

“We knew it was just basketball even though it was going to be in a different arena,” Perry said. “We played in an arena last year, at the Golden1 Center in Sacramento, so it wasn’t anything new. I’m very proud of the guys for executing the game plan.”

Robert Hinton ’24 consoles Trent Perry ’24 after missing two crucial free throws. (Connor Tang)

After Perry’s crucial missed free throws, Hinton was one of the first teammates to comfort him. Perry and Hinton said they have always supported each other when going through adversity.

“[Robert’s] just my brother,” Perry said. “He always picks me up when I’m down, and he’s always praising me when I’m having success. We always have each other’s back. [That moment] was the epitome of what we are as brothers.”

“I always got [Trent],” Hinton said. “I’m so happy we won. [Trent] deserves it so much.”

The Wolverines will seek back-to-back Open Division State Championships, most likely as the number-one seed in California. Perry said the team has unfinished business despite winning the Southern Section title.

“We’ve got to keep doing what we do,” Perry said. “We can’t let up even though we won this. [CIF State] is a new tournament.”

CIF State and Regional bracket pairings will be released late afternoon on Sunday and Open Divison play will begin Feb. 28.

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Justin Tang, Assistant Sports Editor
Connor Tang, Assistant News Editor

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