There are NBA and college players who have struggled trying to make shots in the challenging setting of Sleep Train Arena, but 17-year-old Michael Oguine of West Hills Chaminade calmly and confidently made clutch shots on Friday night in the Division III state championship game.
The 6-foot-2 junior guard finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds, making three of five shots from three-point range, in Chaminade's 71-51 victory over San Anselmo Sir Francis Drake.
"He was phenomenal," Chaminade Coach Todd Wolfson said.
Last week, in the regional final against Santa Margarita, Oguine scored 32 points and made the buzzer beater three-pointer to send Chaminade to Sacramento. It's clear in the last two games, he has become a bona fide star, helping the Eagles overcome the absence of 6-8 Jack Williams, who missed Friday's game because of illness.
"He's carried us for four years," Oguine said. "He's carried us the whole season. When we found out he wasn't going to play, it was tough. My coach tells me, 'You have to rise to the occasion. Big players make big plays in big games.' That's what I tried to do. I've never played in two bigger games in my life. I had to step up, give my all, leave nothing on the floor."
What the game turned out to be was a sneak peek at the Eagles (27-6) for 2015, with underclassmen such as Oguine, 6-10 Trevor Stanback and 6-8 Jake Porath asked to assume increased roles. Stanback had 12 points. And there was senior guard Justin Eisen contributing 15 points and providing court leadership.