The rain poured down Friday night as Hacienda Heights' two high school basketball teams, Wilson and Los Altos, met in the regular-season finale at Los Altos. There was thunder and lightning inside the gym, too.
Los Altos should have hoped for a rainout. Or a power failure, which was of some concern early in the night when lightning hit.
Instead, Los Altos ran into something it must have missed when the teams met earlier in the Sierra League season: the 6-10, 220-pound Scott Williams, who is considered the top player on the West Coast, and a Wildcat team that is ranked No. 6 by The Times in the Southern Section. The result was a convincing 78-61 win for Wilson.
It was quite a turnaround from the first game between the teams, when Los Altos won, 67-64, to become the only team to beat Wilson in league play and only the third team to beat Wilson all season. The Conquerors, although 11-12 overall, also defeated No. 4 Pasadena Muir, so they are indeed a team with the ability to win the big game heading into next week's playoffs.
Wilson (22-3 overall and 8-1 in the league) had the championship clinched before the game, so the Wildcats could have lost only in the rankings or playoff seedings, which will be announced Sunday. Nogales is the No. 2 representative, and Los Altos (5-5 in the league) is No. 3.
"We have played five good games in a row now," Wilson Coach Mike Lowe said. "I guess it was a good thing we lost to them before. We had won eight in a row but were playing poorly. We needed something like that to wake us up, and they did it."
Friday night, the score was tied, 8-8, midway through the first quarter, but Wilson went on a 12-4 run to lead going into the second and pulled away from that point.
"We did a very good job defensively," Lowe said. "We put a great deal of pressure on them just to move the ball around."
Williams, bound for North Carolina, had a game-high 21 points, and the Wildcats also got 20 points from Damon Owens, 16 from Neil Weingarten and 11 from Dwain Daniels.
PREP BASKETBALL GAME OF THE WEEK
TIMES' SOUTHERN SECTION TOP 10 Through Feb. 9
No. School League 1 Mater Dei Angelus 2 Capistrano Valley South Coast 3 Santa Monica Bay 4 Muir Pacific 5 Serra Camino Real 6 HH Wilson Sierra 7 Ocean View Sunset 8 Culver City Ocean 9 Simi Valley Marmonte 10 Riverside North Ivy