Las Positas basketball power broker Stokley Chaffey was asked about his individual goals after the Hawks’ 87-58 win over visiting De Anza Tuesday afternoon.
His response was telling and probably music to the ears of Hawks coach James Giacomazzi.
“I just want to win,” said Chaffey, a 6-foot-8 sophomore who ranks high in the state in rebounds with about 10 a game. “I don’t know if you want to take that as an individual or a team goal, that’s my goal: Do whatever I can to help this team win and get us to where our goals are.”
Ranked fifth in the state, Las Positas has an attractive combination of basketball skill, lofty goals, and a family feel.
Ten players competed in high school locally. Sophomore Aaron Berry, who had 17 of his game-high 24 points Tuesday in the second half, graduated from Heritage High in Brentwood.
Clearly, Las Positas doesn’t seem like merely a weigh station for top talent but a destination location for local players to round out their games and contribute to a burgeoning program.
And it all plays out in front of the family.
“It’s great,” Chaffey said. “Just being local you have your friends and family to come out and support. … It’s a lot more energy because you know you’re playing for the area that you’ve been around for your whole life, pretty much.”
Tuesday’s late-breaking blowout of De Anza (3-10) featured a robust finish after a so-so first half on finals day at Las Positas. The Hawks (13-2) improved to 5-0 at home with their fifth victory in a row, on the heels of winning the Skyline tournament championship.
Why the slow start?
“We were a little bit complacent early, kind of finding our way, finding out what defense is going to be most effective,” Giacomazzi said, adding that the captains stepped up in the second half.
Indeed, sophomore guard/captains Kameron Johnson (Granada), Caleb Baskett (Washington) and Keith Hunter (Oakland) had strong second-half efforts in terms of leadership, effort and organization, helping the Hawks outscore De Anza 53-25 after holding just a one-point halftime lead.
Johnson, who had 11 of his 13 points in the second half, said the Hawks “brought more energy” after intermission.
Chaffey said the team came out with “no intensity whatsoever” in the first half.
“In the locker room (at halftime) the guys we’re all talking, ‘We’ve got to come harder and play the game we know we can play and come out with more energy and intensity.’”
As for the big picture, it looks bright under Giacomazzi, a towering second-year coach who excelled as a player at UC Riverside and San Jose City. He also coached successfully as an assistant under legendary Percy Carr at San Jose City and as a head coach at Cosumnes River.
Last season the Hawks (19-10) set school records for conference wins (eight) and conference finish (third), also amassing a 10-game winning streak. Now it feels pretty much like ‘go-time.'
“Oh, this program is gonna take off in a bit,” said Chaffey, who had a double-double in points and rebounds Tuesday. “It’s gonna be a program to be reckoned with, I can almost promise you that.”
Johnson says the team got better in every area this season. He sees even more of a family feel this time around.
“I think that it took last year to get to this point,” Johnson said. “A lot of the sophomores from last year paved the way for the sophomores this season, so we can bring this to the whole team now.”
-- Matt Schwab