VIDEO: Runs in the Family
WESTLAKE, Calif. -- In the wake of 2016 prospect Jonah Mathews going 11-for-24 in the opening game of the Holiday Hardwood Invitational in Westlake, Calif., Santa Monica (Calif.) head coach Jim Hecht said, "If your last name is Mathews and you're on this team, you can shoot as much as you want."
Last year, Mathews' older brother – now-California freshman Jordan Mathews, who went an uncharacteristic 1-for-7 from the field on Thursday in a 69-62 road win against Stanford -- scored 32 points in the championship game of the same tournament last year, at Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian, and this year, it was Jonah's turn.
In the opener against 2015 four-star Marquese Chriss and Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove, Jonah Mathews went off for 26 points in a 66-55 win, piling up 15 shots alone in the first half, aided by 19 points from newly-returned 2015 prospect New Williams.
Against dangerous Westlake in the second game, Mathews scored 10 of his total 14 points in the fourth quarter, including a bucket with 1:10 left to give the Vikings a lead in a game they won, 53-50.
After a loss on Saturday to young and powerful Sacramento (Calif.), Mathews and Santa Monica played for third place with pressing Fresno (Calif.) Central East, and Mathews was tapped by Hecht to run the point.
"We've been pressed before. Sacramento, on Saturday, pressed us, so we have to remain calm, because you don't want to speed up in the press, because that's what they want," said Mathews. "We have to remain calm, move the ball when we had to and make the right plays. Some of it didn't go, and some went, and that's how the game goes."
Trying to continue his early success with the three-ball, Mathews bombed four attempts from beyond the arc, not hitting a single one, before finding a weakness in the Grizzlies' defense.
"My shot wasn't going, so I attacked the rim, got my rhythm going, and once they tried to close out on the baseline drive, I skipped it over to the baseline," Mathews said. "I hit some open shots in the second half, and my shots started falling, so I calmed down and got into a rhythm."
Hit first five shots of the second quarter after going just 1-for-6 in the first, and after the half, he missed his first three shots, but then went 3-for-6 with a crucial three to get Santa Monica within one point, before Central hit a three in the final minute to clinch the game.
The ending was not without a bit of drama, though, as both Mathews and Williams had the ball in their hands in the final seconds, each missing two threes. Hecht said afterwards that while both snipers missed this time, the chances of that happening again are fairly slim, an assertion with which Mathews agreed.
"It really hurt. When you have the ball in your hands, you have to be confident with it, and I like the ball in my hands when the game comes down to it," Mathews said. "That's what big-time players do, and me and New unfortunately didn't hit, but we'll hit it next time."
Mathews has no offers yet, but he does have heavy interest from and in his brother's current institution, evinced by his choice of attire before the game: A Cal basketball sweatshirt.
"No offers, but people have come and talked to me, saw us practice, but no one's offered me yet," Mathews said. "I like Cal a lot. My brother goes there, he's doing his thing up there, and it would be good to play with him like I did freshman year."
Mathews got to see his older brother at Christmas, and pays close attention to the Bears.
"He told me practice is a lot more intense," Mathews said. "Everything is magnified. He told me in high school, you can get away with some things, but in college, if you do a defensive assignment wrong, you'll pay for it."
BearTerritory.net Top Stories
Experienced Secondary of Paramount ConcernBERKELEY -- Utah brings experience in the secondary, but there may be a soft underbelly on defense that the Cal offense can exploit against the Utes.
Cuonzo Martin Talks Positional BattlesBERKELEY -- California head coach Cuonzo Martin talks about his two new point guards and the competition for playing time at the other post spot, opposite Ivan Rabb.
First Day of Hoops: What Did We Learn?Three big takeaways from Cal basketball's first day of practice.
Two-Minute Drill: Cal vs. UtahWe've got a quick two-minute update on the Golden Bears as they make final preparations to face Utah on Saturday, likely with the iron-strong Khalfani Muhammad leading the charge…
Six working hardest on Jordan BrownJordan Brown, ranked 6th in Scout's 2018 Top 100, has six schools recruiting him hardest. Here's the latest on the five-star power forward's recruitment.
Scout Hoops10:27 AM