- Blair Angulo, Reporter, WeAreSC.com
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BELLFLOWER -- All eyes were fixed on St. John Bosco guard Isaac Hamilton Wednesday night. Up and down the floor he went, crashing the boards and slashing his way to the basket. The star junior was a sight to see.
Then, late in the game, Hamilton was whistled for his fifth foul. Suddenly, the player everyone came to see turned into a spectator.
St. John Bosco, though, responded the way good teams do. Captain Braiten Madrigal sank a clutch 3-pointer to extend the Braves' lead to six, and they held on for a crucial 80-73 Trinity League victory over visiting Orange Lutheran.
"I don't know what I was thinking," said Hamilton, who scored a game-high 37 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. "The fifth foul was just instincts. I should have held back, but I saw the ball coming and I thought it was an easy steal. Not being with the team in the final minutes hurt, but everyone else finished the game off."
St. John Bosco (14-2), which improved to 4-0 in the Trinity League, is off to a remarkable start under first-year coach Derrick Taylor, who spent the previous 11 years at Woodland Hills Taft.
Hamilton, the nation's 16th-ranked player in the 2013 class, picked up his fifth foul with 1:45 remaining, the Braves clinging to a five-point lead. It dwindled down to three before Madrigal's heroics.
"It was rough, but I knew we'd pull it out," said 6-foot-6 sophomore Daniel Hamilton, Isaac's younger brother who added 23 points and 11 assists. "We're a good team. We practice hard and play hard."
Payton Banks led the Lancers (12-6, 2-3 Trinity) with 20 points. Orange Lutheran played without the suspended Gabe York, who violated CIF-Southern Section rules by playing one game in an adult league. York, the region's top-rated guard and an Arizona signee, also missed Monday's home loss to La Verne Lutheran. He had been recovering from a Dec. 31 appendectomy but has since been cleared to play.
The Braves led by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter before foul trouble became an issue. Isaac Hamilton picked up his fourth foul with more than three minutes remaining; Daniel Hamilton picked up his fourth with two and a half minutes left. But, when the Lancers needed a scorer, all York could do was cheer.
St. John Bosco will board an early Thursday flight to New Orleans, and opens play in the Allstate Prep Classic later in the day. Isaac and Daniel Hamilton said they won't sleep until they board the plane.
On Wednesday night the pair showed they're wide awake.
"We're 4-0 in league now," Isaac Hamilton said. "This sends a big message."
Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPN Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter.
BELLFLOWER -- All eyes were fixed on St. John Bosco guard Isaac Hamilton Wednesday night. Up and down the floor he went, crashing the boards and slashing his way to the basket.