SACRAMENTO — At halftime of Saturday’s CIF Division II Championship Game, Campolindo student Donovan Robles hit a half-court shot to win a $200 gift card to Eastbay.com, one of the state tournament’s sponsors. It was just that kind of day for the Cougars.
Aidan Mahaney and Emmanuel Callas each had 19 points and nine rebounds, and while Colony did get a game-high 28 points from Pepperdine commit Sedrick Altman, Campolindo won its first-ever boys basketball state championship, defeating the Titans 55-40.
“You can’t envision a better ending than this,” head coach Steven Dyer said after the victory.
Even when Colony (31-6) seemed to generate some momentum, such as Altman’s 3-pointer with a defender in his face to cut the lead to nine as the third quarter came to a close, the Cougars were just better. No amount of defensive pressure seemed to shake them, as Carter Mahaney scored to start the fourth to restore a double-digit lead, which would hold the entire rest of the way.
Carter scored eight points while holding Altman to 10-for-24 shooting, including 3-of-9 on threes. David Ahazie also scored eight points while holding Denim Dawson scoreless, and Aidan Mahaney took care of Brenton Knapper, who went 2-for-13 on the day.
“It’s team defense, and everyone did their part,” Dyer said. “These guys watched a lot of film the past couple weeks and we did a ton of four-man shell in practice.”
In all, the Titans shot 29.6% from the field and went just 3-for-17 on 3-pointers, scoring 32 points below their season average.
“Part of that was because of the defense they played, part was our own shot selection,” CVolony head coach Jerry de Fabiis said. “We were afraid of getting called for charges and they would show two or three guys. Instead of swinging the ball, we settled and took some tough shots.”
Meanwhile, Callas and the younger of the Mahaney brothers starred on the offensive end for Campolindo (27-7). It was a fitting culmination to Callas’ sophomore season, one in which he didn’t take the court until January as he was shut down by knee injuries. Throughout the postseason, he’s been one of Campolindo’s top players, and against a Colony team with more size and length, he was especially valuable. His 19 points would have been a career high, had he not posted 22 a week earlier in an overtime win over Sacramento in the NorCal Quarterfinals.
“I was just getting to my spots and my teammates did a really good job of feeding me,” Callas said.
Between Callas, one more year from Carter and three more years for Aidan, the Cougars will be able to look ahead to a tremendously bright future, one that already has talks of them playing in the Open Division in the coming seasons.
“The potential is huge for the years to come,” Ahazie said.
Colony, meanwhile, will be looking back on a memorable career from Altman, who went out with a bang despite the defeat. The Southern Section has been in the news in recent years for allowing players to transfer freely, but Altman was on board for the full four-year ride with the Titans, as were many of his teammates.
“It’s a great program,” Altman said. “From the head coach to the last assistant on the staff, I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
After leaving it all on the court, Altman was especially distraught, lying on the ground in despair after the final buzzer. Aside from six early points from Jacob Padilla, it was the Pepperdine-bound star’s day to shine.
“The individual success doesn’t matter,” the disappointed senior said. “It’s about getting the W, and we didn’t do that.”
Campolindo has just four outgoing seniors, and just two (Ahazie and Jake Chan) start, but the quartet will certainly be missed. Ryan Jeter is a fan favorite and Peter Schmitz continued to plug away in practice, even without significant playing time.
“This was a really connected group,” Dyer said. “Everybody gets along. Some teams have divisiveness if the freshmen and sophomores are doing so well, but there was none of that on this team.”