Rick Hilaire is the latest player from Renaissance Academy to rise to the occasion for his team in the CIF boys basketball playoffs.
Hilaire scored 16 points and ran the point for Renaissance Academy in a 75-59 win over Ribet Academy in the semifinals of the CIF Southern California Regional Division V playoffs on Tuesday night.
Renaissance Academy will play top-seeded St. Bernard in the Southern California Regional Division V championship game on Saturday at Colony High School in Ontario. The winner will advance to the CIF State championship game in Sacramento.
Hilaire started at point guard for injured Nick Troplent, who sat out with a sprained knee.
“He’s an athlete, but he doesn’t have much experience,” Renaissance Academy coach Sid Cooke said about Hilaire. “We missed Nick because Nick gives us continuity. Our guys, different guys stepped up for us. Rick, he doesn’t force too much. He just takes what they give him.”
Renaissance Academy lost to Ribet Academy by one point, 57-56, earlier in the season. Cooke said the strategy for the rematch was to double team Tyler Dorsey, Ribet Academy’s leading scorer at 22.1 points per game.
That forced Ribet to use 6-foot-10 inch sophomore Idrissa Diallo as the main scorer. But Diallo got into foul trouble and Renaissance Academy kept attacking him until he fouled out of the game.
“When he got his third foul, we were up,” Cooke said. “When he went out, that compounded things for them.”
Diallo fouled out of the game midway through the fourth quarter. Renaissance Academy took advantage and had a 13-point lead. But Ribet battled back and closed the gap to eight points on a pair of 3-pointers by Dorsey. He finished with a game-high 24 points.
Vince DeGuzman scored a team-high 21 points for Renaissance Academy and led four players in double figures.
Troplent’s status for Saturday’s game against Village Christian is questionable. Cooke said he expects Troplent to play.
“I think he will be OK,” Cooke said. “But you never know.”
Cooke added that Troplent played a strong defensive game against Bryan Alberts, one of Village Christian’s two talented sophomores, when the two teams met in November. Renaissance Academy won that game, 60-44, in the Burbank basketball tournament.
“At the beginning of the year, they were a different team,” Cooke said. “They have a lot of talent. But they have a different dynamic. They’re a lot longer than Ribet. It’ll be fun, but hopefully we can keep going.”