PASADENA — Throughout the season, Renaissance Academy's Rick Hilaire has seen his playing time limited because of groin and ankle problems.
But in a pivotal moment in the season Saturday evening, the senior guard provided a huge boost, posting 19 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks to lead the Wildcats to an 83-58 rout over Rock Academy in the second round of the CIF State Boys' Division V Basketball Championships Southern California bracket.
By way of injuries, Hilaire moved into the starting lineup and scored 11 points in the opening period to spark a 22-2 spurt and propel third-seeded Renaissance Academy (26-6) to Tuesday's quarterfinal contest against second-seeded Ribet Academy, the Harbor League champion.
"Rick is as good as any starter," Wildcats Coach Sid Cooke said. "He's a good player and he's come along at the right time.
"Rick is starting to get what we want him to do — attack. Early in the year, he was hurt ... hadn't really played a lot of basketball, organized. [But he has] a lot of potential.
"We figured we could put him in there [in the starting lineup]. He knows the system. It's just a matter of him playing that way."
Hilaire took a couple rebounds coast-to-coast for layups in the first quarter and then turned a steal into a one-handed dunk that helped Renaissance Academy to a 25-10 advantage.
In the second quarter, he took Kevin Dinges' missed shot and flushed it in for a two-handed dunk. Minutes later, Hilaire hit a hanging bank shot to nudge the Wildcats' lead above the 20-point mark, 42-21, with 1:15 left in the half.
At intermission, Renaissance Academy sat on a 48-24 cushion.
"The key was to bring a lot of energy and continue pushing," said junior guard Nick Troplent, who scored nine points on three three-pointers. "It was important not to let them stay in the game and keep making runs."
Troy Fontanilla also came up big, with 12 points and eight assists. He drilled a pair of three-pointers in the opening half and found Vince De Guzman for a layup and foul that gave the Wildcats a 10-8 lead they never relinquished.
Gerrick Uneau notched 10 points and two blocks, and Jessy Cantinol added eight points and four assists.
"We haven't been hitting on all cylinders for a while, just missing easy shots. But today we were kind of back in form," Cooke said. "We knew this was going to be a tough game. We haven't had a tough game in a while.
"Our kids were up. They weren't the guys with the targets on their back; they were the guys who could be beat. It got their attention ... so our level had to pick up and we did. We answered the bell."
The 11th-seeded Warrior (19-11) from the San Diego Section was led by Holden Haskett and Keelan Elliott, who scored 24 points apiece. Elliott drained six three-pointers, including five in the final quarter, and Haskett sank three from behind the arc.