It was a historic night in Studio City as Harvard-Westlake Coach Greg Hilliard was coaching his final regular season home game. Hilliard joined the Wolverines in 1985, and now in his 30th season, he has decided to step away from the court. Hilliard coached former NBA players Jarron and Jason Collins to a CIF title and was named the High School Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1997.
Chaminade and Harvard-Westlake were evenly matched on Friday, just like the previous game earlier in the season. The last matchup between the two, which was played at Chaminade, saw the Eagles lose Mike Oguine to injury and Alex Copeland torch the Chaminade defense for 33 points to lead HW to a 75-72 victory.
Copeland was unable to have a repeat performance, as the Eagles shifted much more defensive focus to him, forcing him to fight for every shot. Coach Hilliard has sophomore guard Carter Begel to thank for keeping the game so close. Begel had a slow first half, but was close to unstoppable in the second, finishing the game with 21 points overall.
Head Coach Todd Wolfson knew winning would not come without challenge for the Eagles. Starting point guard Dylan Cuenca was still out with concussion, center Joel Loth sat with an injured ankle, and reserve center Bar Milo was in Dallas to play in an All-American football game.
Even though Chaminade had two big men missing, they were still able to expose Harvard-Westlake’s lack of size and weak interior defense. Williams College commit Jake Porath was 100% healthy for the first time all season, and it showed. Porath ripped up the Wolverines for 25 points, 14 boards, and seven assists. Oguine added in 20 more points, and both of them scored practically all of their 45 points from the line or under the basket.
The Eagles had pulled away 64-56 once the last couple of seconds had come around, but one of the best scenes of the season come in those last seconds. Oguine and Copeland, arguably the two best players in the Mission League, were matched up on Harvard-Westlake’s final possession. Copeland threw up a meaningless three at the buzzer, and Oguine emphatically swatted it away. Maybe that was just Oguine reminding everyone just how great his game is.
Chaminade improved to 18-7 overall and 5-5 in league. Their next game will be Monday at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.