Wednesday, May 22, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Everyone expected Democracy Prep boys basketball to roll through the Class 3A playoffs this season. Chaparral had other ideas.
The Cowboys, who were 16-7 on the year, eliminated the Blue Knights, who were undefeated in league play, in an 82-80 overtime win in the Southern Region semifinal in February. Meshach Hawkins hit a game-winning shot in the final minute of overtime to secure the victory.
“We were supposed to lose that game by 20, I think they said,” said Hawkins, who had a team-high 22 points. “It was joyful. My coach, he hugged me and I started crying and he started crying.”
Democracy Prep outscored opponents by 24.6 points per game in the regular season to roll to a Sunset League title, while Chaparral grabbed the No. 2 seed in the Sunrise League.
Chaparral trailed by double digits in the game but grabbed the lead late in the fourth quarter before Democracy Prep tied it. The overtime win sent the Cowboys to the state tournament for the first time since before Hawkins was born.
“That’s what the goal was, to go to state,” Hawkins. “No Chap team did it in so long.”