Boys' basketball roundup: Trent Perry leads Harvard-Westlake to another state Open Division title

Trent Perry never stops smiling on the court — except when he switches to tears of joy celebrating a second straight state Open Division championship with his Harvard-Westlake teammates.

It was a delirious moment of ecstasy on Saturday night at Golden 1 Center as the Wolverines fought off a fierce challenge from Richmond Salesian to win 50-45.

As he has done throughout three state playoff games, Perry came through in the final moments to deliver victory. He had a steal in the final minute, made a shot with 1:17 left for the lead, made another shot with 26 seconds left for a three-point lead, then made two free throws with 9.2 seconds to clinch the victory. He finished with 17 points in a performance that left little doubt he’s California’s player of the year for the 2023-24 season.

“It’s my last game,” Perry said. “It’s my last game with special teammates. I just wanted to win. It was a team effort getting those stops. I left it all on the floor.”

The Wolverines (33-3) forced two turnovers in the final minute in decisive defensive stops.

“They’re a great team,” Harvard-Westlake coach David Rebibo said of Salesian. “They gave us everything we could handle and more.”

Elias Obenyah scored 14 points for Salesian (31-2), whose only losses this season were to state Division I champion St. John Bosco and Harvard-Westlake.

Robert Hinton was close to perfect shooting the ball for the Wolverines. He made seven of eight shots and finished with 19 points. He’s off to Harvard and Perry is going to USC. They had one last hug on the bench while waiting for their awards.

“He’s been spectacular,” Hinton said of Perry, who had games of 28 and 42 points to get the Wolverines to the final. “We put so much trust in him. He’s a big-time player.”

Perry did all of his last-minute heroics with four fouls. A big moment came in the fourth quarter when he was called for a foul. The official reversed his call and gave it to Josh Engelberg. That kept Perry available to deliver at the end.

“He exemplifies winning,” Rebibo said.

Harvard-Westlake scored the final 11 points of the second quarter to take a 21-11 lead. But Salesian cut its deficit to 31-27 at halftime with drives to the basket. Two fouls at the end of the quarter on Perry sent him to the bench and slowed the Wolverines’ momentum.

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