The question halfway through Trabuco Hills High School’s 87-60 victory over San Diego Clairemont Tuesday night in a Southern California Regional Division III first-round game wasn’t so much whether Trabuco Hills would win. That much seemed certain.
The question was whether Trabuco Hills’ star, 6-foot-10 center Rick Swanwick, having made one of 10 shots from the field in the first half, had fallen into one serious shooting slump.
Although it looked sketchy for a while, Swanwick recovered from his first-half performance to finish with 32 points and 19 rebounds. The victory--in front of 800 at El Toro High School--moved Trabuco Hills (23-6) into Thursday’s semifinals, where it will play host to Lemoore, an 85-69 winner over San Luis Obispo Tuesday.
Last Saturday, Swanwick, who averages 20 points a game, managed just nine points in Trabuco Hills’ 59-55 victory over Corona del Mar for the Southern Section 3-A title. And Tuesday night, after an entire first half of ineffective basketball, Swanwick headed for the locker room, shaking his head in disgust.
By the time he walked on the court in the third quarter, his disgust had turned to anger.
“I was mad, very mad,” Swanwick said.
And so he was ready to play.
Although he missed his first shot, Swanwick connected on his next two, and 3 minutes later made five more baskets in a row for a total of 15 third-quarter points. Add that to 11 points in the fourth quarter, and 19 rebounds in the game, and you’ve got a satisfied Swanwick.
“I feel better, but I just want to win, I just want to make sure of that,” he said.
Trabuco Hills had little trouble after the first 4 minutes of the game. Although Clairemont jumped to an 11-6 lead, Trabuco Hills came back on the strength of Randy Kriech’s six points to take a 18-15 first-quarter lead, one it would not relinquish.
Kriech, who scored 17 of his 22 points in the first half, kept Trabuco Hills going during Swanwick’s mini-slump. Kriech hit three three-pointers in the game, and Tim Manning had four three-pointers, including one at the buzzer ending the third quarter with a 63-36 Mustang lead. He finished with 12 points.
Louis Arenado added 10 points for Trabuco Hills, and played a big part, along with Manning, in guarding Clairemont’s best player, Ray McDavid.
McDavid, who averaged 25 points a game, may have proved to be the best athlete on the court despite being held to 22 points. He also proved to be the only player who could bring the fans--and several players on the Mustang bench--to their feet with his late-game slam sensation. With 5 seconds remaining in the game, McDavid threw up what appeared to be an alley-oop pass from the top of the key, then managed to scramble through traffic and leap up in time to slam the ball through off the backboard.