Isaiah Johnson’s early spark propels Campbell Hall basketball past Saugus

Saugus’ Peter Burton, #5, looks for a pass around Campbell Hall’s Baron Bellamy, #3, during first period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Saugus’ Peter Burton, #5, loses the ball under pressure from Campbell Hall’s Andrew Powell, #13, and Deuce Newt, #2, during first period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Campbell Hall’s Isaiah Johnson, #5, shoots as Saugus’ Max Guardado, #45, defends during first period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Campbell Hall’s Aliaun Iscandari, #0, drives past Saugus’ Bryce Mejia, #1, during first period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Campbell Hall’s Isaiah Johnson, #5, drives past Saugus’ Max Guardado, #45, during first period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Campbell Hall’s Baron Bellamy, #3, steals the ball from Saugus’ Justin Perez, #0, during first period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Saugus’ Peter Burton, #5, drives to the basket as Campbell Hallxe2x80x99s Baron Bellamy, #3, defends on the play during second period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Campbell Hall’s Baron Bellamy, #3, lays in two points during second period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Campbell Hall’s James Bass, #33, blocks a shot by Saugus’ Bryce Mejia, #1, during third period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Campbell Hall defeated Saugus 83-63. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Saugus’ Justin Perez, #0, drives to the basket with heavy pressure from Campbell Hallxe2x80x99s Aliaun Iscandari, #0, during second period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Campbell Hall defeated Saugus 83-63. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Saugus’ Wyatt Wilson, #12, gets a rebound from Campbell Hallxe2x80x99s Andrew Powell, #13, and Deuce Newt, #2, during third period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Campbell Hall defeated Saugus 83-63. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Saugus’ Bryce Mejia, #1, gets double-teamed by Campbell Hallxe2x80x99s Isaiah Johnson, #5, and Deuce Newt, #2, during second period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Campbell Hall defeated Saugus 83-63. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Campbell Hall’s James Bass, #33, pulls a rebound from Saugus’ Wyatt Wilson, #12, during third period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Campbell Hall defeated Saugus 83-63. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Campbell Hall’s Deuce Newt, #2, forces the ball from Saugus’ Ryan Sanchez, #2, during third period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Campbell Hall defeated Saugus 83-63. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Campbell Hall’s Isaiah Johnson, #5, looks for a opening for a shot during third period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Campbell Hall defeated Saugus 83-63. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Campbell Hall’s Isaiah Johnson, #5, drives to the basket as Saugus’ Peter Burton, #5, defends on the play during third period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Campbell Hall defeated Saugus 83-63. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Campbell Hall’s Isaiah Johnson, #5, drives past Saugus’ Matthew Correa, #3, during third period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Campbell Hall defeated Saugus 83-63. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Campbell Hall teammates congratulate each other after defeating Saugus in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Campbell Hall defeated Saugus 83-63. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Campbell Hall head coach David Grace talks with Aaron Powell, #11, during third period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Campbell Hall defeated Saugus 83-63. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Saugus’ Bryce Meji, #1, forces the ball from Campbell Hallxe2x80x99s Aliaun Iscandari, #0, during fourth period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Campbell Hall defeated Saugus 83-63. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Saugus coach Alfredo Manzano coaches during third period action in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA playoffs at Campbell Hall on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. Campbell Hall defeated Saugus 83-63. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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STUDIO CITY — Isaiah Johnson wasn’t perfect from the field Friday night, but in the first quarter, it felt like every shot he took went in.

The Campbell Hall point guard made his first four shots from the field and finished the quarter with 12 points, on his way to a game-high 28 points to lead the Vikings to an 83-63 victory over Saugus in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA boys basketball playoffs.

“I knew the other team had some dogs on their team so me being the captain and point guard, I had to come out and get my team going,” Johnson said. “Credit to my team, they brought the energy, we pressed and that got me going. It was a together thing.”

“He came to play. He’s been my most steady guy all year long,” Campbell Hall head coach David Grace said about Johnson. “He’s an amazing young man who has a great future. Great parents, he’s very grounded, a great student and he understands the game. He’s special.”

The Vikings got off to a 10-2 lead to start the game, but ended up needing all of Johnson’s 12 first-quarter points as Saugus fought back to take a one-point lead heading into the second quarter.

Saugus was able to score by breaking through Campbell Hall’s press with the senior duo of Peter Burton and Justin Perez getting to the basket and hitting from midrange.

But Johnson got support from his teammates in the second quarter and throughout the rest of the game, with Aliaun Iscandari and Aaron Powell getting involved offensively.

Sophomore guard Deuce Newt provided a spark off the bench, scoring seven points in the second quarter to help Campbell Hall take a double-digit lead to halftime, which the Vikings maintained for the rest of the game.

Even when the game was tight early, the Vikings showed no fear. They played with a sense of urgency, but took care of the ball and found good shots.

The Vikings had arguably the toughest schedule in the area. They played local powerhouse programs like Harvard-Westlake, Notre Dame and highly-ranked national teams like DeMatha and Sagemont.

The tough schedule led to some early ups and downs, but helped prepare Campbell Hall for this moment, as it looks to make a long postseason run.

“We’ve seen every coverage. We’ve been down, we’ve been up in games, so we know what it takes,” Johnson said. “It builds character, we’re battle tested. We’ve just been staying steady throughout the season and it’s paying off now.”

Iscandari finished with 21 points and Powell added 13 points for Campbell Hall. Center James Bass pulled down 11 rebounds and had two blocks to go along with five points he scored in the fourth quarter.

Perez led Saugus with 19 points and Burton scored 16 points. Bryce Mejia scored nine points off of three 3-pointers.

Saugus head coach Alfredo Manzano took time after the game to speak to his players about the positive season they put together, including a Foothill League title.

“I broke down because this team is special. We talked about all the great times we had this year. The Big Bear trip, all these bonding trips, everything we’ve been through together,” Manzano said. “These guys fought hard today. We kept it all positive and I let them know how proud I am.

Campbell Hall will play St. Anthony on the road in a quarterfinals matchup Tuesday.

St. Anthony defeated Loyola 69-55 Friday night.

“They have a goal and they don’t want to stop playing. They’re not afraid of nobody,” Grace said. “No one in this division is more talented or more experienced than we are.”

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