Hilmar High varsity boys basketball secured its third straight victory after edging out Livingston High 57-53 from home on Wednesday night. It was an especially sweet victory for the ‘Jackets, who lost to the Wolves on Dec. 1.
Six-foot-eight senior Jonas Tate led all with 21 points and secured a double-double after adding 11 rebounds. He also finished with seven blocks.
Carter Azevedo added 10 points, two steals and three assists for the game. Gage Yates added 11 points while sophomore Justin Barros finished with three steals.
“I knew coming in we would be a bigger test for them since they hadn't seen our full team yet and when I put sophomore Justin Barros in, he went after it with the steals running around,” said Hilmar head coach Craig Peterson.
Livingston took an early lead in the opening quarter and led 20-11 by the start of the second.
The second quarter saw Hilmar outscore Livingston 14-13, showing a glimpse of what the remainder of the game would be.
The Yellowjackets cut the lead to five by the start of the fourth at 45-40 after Tate went off, handling the paint with ease and putting in the buckets convincingly over the much smaller defenders of the Wolves.
“They were doubling Jonas at first because even if Jonas is doubled you can still get him the ball,” said Peterson. “We started skipping it and made the guy doubling him to get out and we were able to get it in there. I told Jonas to stay put on defense and get some blocks; he was efficient.”
Once the fourth kicked off, Hilmar immediately scored five straight points in the first 1:52 and tied it at 45-45.
The 'Jackets then outscored the Wolves in the final six minutes 12-8 to secure the win after adding two late free throws in the final 30 seconds.
“I told the guys that if we stop their shot when they come down that is big because teams like this just want to get the rebound and make a three,” said Peterson. “They come back and stop you and they do the same thing over and over again and in the final three minutes, couldn't get a shot and we were executing and getting them in foul trouble.”
Hilmar has won four of its last five games.
“Facing a team like Livingston and beating them is great,” Peterson added. “We have a Wednesday home against Waterford and Thursday at home against Delhi and that is the last of pre-league.”
Hilmar will next host Waterford at 7 p.m. Wednesday.