Mission Prep’s boys basketball team had to contend with an all-out speedster to win against The Webb Schools in its second round playoff matchup at home Friday.
But the Royals managed to overcome the heroics of 5-foot-8, 135-pound point guard Silas Gaines to hold off Webb of Claremont 57-49 in a CIF-Southern Section Division 5AA second-round game.
Gaines had a game-high 31 points, five above his season average of 26, and he was a blur on the court in the second half, pulling his team within 42-41 in the fourth quarter after the Royals led 28-19 at halftime.
But with a few minutes left, Mission Prep went on an 8-0 run, including two buckets in the paint from guard Quinton Adlesh, and pulled ahead 50-41 to put the game out of reach.
Adlesh had 12 points and four assists, and Royals point guard Andy Rowley had a team-high 20 points.
“I give a lot of credit to our opponent tonight,” Mission Prep coach Terrance Harris said. “Silas Gaines has to be the quickest player we’ve seen all year.
Defense has to be a team effort and we did some things to try to get the ball out of his hands early in the second half.”
Even with a high trap on him, Gaines went on a tear, scoring 21 in the second half on whirling layups and high arching floaters and jumpers. He single-handedly put the team on his back as no other Gauls player scored more than five in the game.
The Royals (20-7), who came in as the third-seeded team in the division, had a more balanced attack and were able to find holes in the Gauls’ zone, particularly in the paint in the first half.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of sharing the ball tonight,” Harris said. “Our ball movement, particularly in the first half, was good.”
Seven players scored in the first two quarters for the Royals, who led by double figures in the first half before settling for a nine-point halftime lead.
The second quarter was punctuated by a two-handed slam dunk from 6-5 center Connor Woolpert to close the half. Woolpert finished with nine points and nine rebounds.
The Royals also used a swarming defense that led to steals and turnovers to build an early lead against the Gauls (15-10), the 14th-ranked team in the division.
Rowley said that in the playoffs, “anything can happen” and he wasn’t surprised by the Gauls’ second-half comeback led by Gaines.
“Everybody gets excited for CIF,” Rowley said. “We knew it was going to be competitive.”
Rowley said his team did a good job of getting him the ball into the high post and crashing the boards. Junior forward Patrick Laird had six points and was in the middle of several scrambles for loose balls and contested rebounds.
The Royals also drained 15 of 19 free throws and were able to increase their margin in the closing seconds.
Harris said Mission Prep’s next game will be against Saddleback Valley Christian, the sixth-ranked team in the division. Harris said the Royals will host the 7 p.m. game Tuesday.
“They’re an athletic, long team,” Harris said. “They’re 25-5, so we know there will be no gimmies in that one.”