Harvard-Westlake boys basketball charges past Roosevelt in second half to earn trip to CIF State finals

Harvard-Westlake’s Trent Perry and Nikolas Khamenia react after defeating Roosevelt in the CIF State SoCal Regional Open Division finals March 5, 2024.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

STUDIO CITY — The first half of the CIF Southern California Regional Open Division boys basketball final between Harvard-Westlake and Roosevelt felt reminiscent of the semifinal game the Wolverines played against Carlsbad over the weekend.

Shots weren’t falling. Contested jumpers were going in for the opposition. The Wolverines trailed by double digits early.

But just like that game, Harvard-Westlake came charging back in the second half, igniting its trademark defense and playing aggressively on the offensive end.

With the backcourt of Trent Perry and Robert Hinton combining for 44 points, Harvard-Westlake defeated Roosevelt 63-59 Tuesday to earn its second consecutive trip to Sacramento and a chance to defend its CIF State Open Division title.

The Harvard-Westlake boys basketball team defeats Roosevelt in the CIF State SoCal Regional Open Division finals March 5, 2024.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Harvard-Westlake’s Christian Horry and Jackson Haggins of Roosevelt battle for the ball during the CIF State SoCal Regional Open Division final March 5, 2024.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Harvard-Westlake’s Trent Perry gets by Myles Walker of Roosevelt in the CIF State SoCal Regional Open Division finals March 5, 2024.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Harvard-Westlake’s Trent Perry tries to get around Roosevelt’s Dominic Copenhagen and Issac Williamson during the CIF State SoCal Regional Open Division final March 5, 2024.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Harvard-Westlake’s Trent Perry fouls Kevin “Tochi” Anigbogu of Roosevelt in the CIF State SoCal Regional Open Division finals March 5, 2024.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Harvard-Westlake’s Nikolas Khamenia celebrates as the boys basketball team defeats Roosevelt in the CIF State SoCal Regional Open Division finals March 5, 2024.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Harvard-Westlake’s Trent Perry celebrates as the boys basketball team defeats Roosevelt in the CIF State SoCal Regional Open Division finals March 5, 2024.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Harvard-Westlake’s Trent Perry celebrates as the boys basketball team defeats Roosevelt in the CIF State SoCal Regional Open Division finals March 5, 2024.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

Harvard-Westlake’s Trent Perry and Nikolas Khamenia react after defeating Roosevelt in the CIF State SoCal Regional Open Division finals March 5, 2024.(Photo by Andy Holzman, Contributing Photographer)

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“This was the same scenario as last game. Down double digits, they are hitting all their shots and we had a lot of lapses on defense,” said Perry, who finished with 28 points, eight rebounds and went a perfect 11-for-11 from the free-throw line. “In the second half we came together as a family, stuck together, we chopped wood and we ended up getting it done.”

“The key for us staying in the game was staying together,” said Hinton, who recorded 16 points and was also a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. “We couldn’t separate and we couldn’t become individuals. It’s so easy when you’re down to get desperate, chuck up shots, play bad defense, gamble, but we stuck together so well and I think that was the key for us coming back to win.”

Harvard-Westlake will travel to Sacramento to take on Salesian, the NorCal champion, in the Open final Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Golden 1 Center.

For the first 16 minutes of Tuesday’s game, the energy and momentum swung in Roosevelt’s favor. Brayden Burries was scoring at will, getting in the paint for easy buckets and making shots from beyond the arc.

Roosevelt’s Issac Williamson was making contested shots and finding his teammates for good looks. Dominic Copenhagen came off the bench and provided a spark for the Mustangs, guiding Roosevelt to a double-digit advantage at halftime.

Things would have been worse for Harvard-Westlake if Hinton hadn’t scored 10 of his 16 points in the second quarter to keep his team afloat.

The senior guard also had a steal in the last minute of the game that led to a 3-point-play for Perry, which sealed the win.

“Robert is a four-year varsity guy who we depend on, who we expect to make big plays,” Harvard-Westlake head coach David Rebibo said. “Anything he does is not a surprise. He’s a warrior and he’s going to give us everything night in and night out.”

Just like he did against Carlsbad, Perry came out aggressively in the second half, scoring 21 of his 28 total points.

And after being stymied in the first 16 minutes of play, Nikolas Khamenia also came out of the half looking to score, using his array of post moves and scoop shots to accumulate 11 second-half points. He had 13 total points to go along with five rebounds.

Burries led Roosevelt with 24 points and six rebounds, and made four 3-pointers. Williamson finished with 13 points.

The opportunity to defend the state championship was always the third and final goal for the Wolverines this year.

“This was our goal the whole season. I’ve been talking to you this whole year about all three goals and we finally have the chance to get our third goal,” Hinton said. “This is big for us.”

Come Saturday night, Harvard-Westlake will have the opportunity to realize that dream.

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