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June 14, 2021

Basketball: Miskin leads AAU team to championship

Trailing by three points with less than 10 second left in regulation San Benito High’s Hyram Miskin had control of the ball. Playing for the Seaside’s Finest under-16 Amateur Athletic Union basketball team in the AAU West Coast National Championship game Sunday in Las Vegas, the game fell on Miskin’s shoulders.

Coming around the baseline, Miskin stopped, pivoted and released a long-ranged 3-point shot from the corner. As the ball flew through the air, Miskin remembered a similar shot that rimmed out earlier in the game and he became nervous, he said.

“I was scared I was going to miss it,” he said. “I’ve never been in that situation before.”

He didn’t miss it, though. His shot tied the game and sent the championship game into overtime.

Eventually, his Seaside’s Finest defeated a the New Hampshire Spartans Elite 64-61 in overtime to claim the under-16 national title. It was an exciting experience for the incoming San Benito High junior, who will enter the basketball season in January as the Balers’ leading scorer.

“It was a new experience playing against guys that were so much bigger,” Miskin said.

Miskin’s Elite rolled through the 18-team tournament with a 4-0 record.

Seaside opened against Hawaii’s Upcountry Elite. In the game, Seaside, which has seven players on its roster, dominated by beating Elite 71-36.

The victory gave Seaside a first-round bye in the tournament round.

In its second game, Seaside defeated the Bay Area Warriors 75-66 to advance to the semifinals. There Seaside defeated its second team from Hawaii – Opencourt Hawaii – 69-56.

The victories launched the Elite into Sunday’s championship game against New Hampshire. Playing against an aggressive and bigger defense, Miskin flourished.

Scoring a game-high 27 points, Miskin became the team’s go-to player.

“We really weren’t doing too well on offense so I tried to take control of that part of the game,” Miskin said.

His experience during the Balers’ run to the Central Coast Section semifinals last year paid off, he said. In the Balers elimination game, the aggressive Piedmont Hills defense allowed Miskin to get comfortable Sunday.

“They started off really aggressive like against Piedmont Hills,” he said. “It helped me learn to play with pressure and to keep my cool.”

And keeping his “cool” eventually set up his game-tying shot in the final seconds.

“That was the biggest shot I’ve ever made,” he said. “It feels good that the team trusted me with that pressure and I can take that to San Benito.”

More than anything, the championship and shot boosted his confidence entering the school year, he said.

“It helps my confidence a lot more,” Miskin said. “I found out I can play in those situations. I trust myself more. I’m going to be more confident in my shot. I’m not going to make all of them. But I’m going to have the confidence that I can.”

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