Behind its defense and shooting, Hillcrest surged ahead early Saturday night and rolled to an 81-47 win over York in the second round of the Class AAAA boys basketball playoffs at A.C. Duckett Gymnasium.
The top-ranked Rams (23-2) will host Spring Valley in a third-round game Tuesday night.
Rams coach Reggie Choplin said his team came focused and ready to play.
"I think our energy level (made the difference), especially on the defensive end," Choplin said. "I was really pleased with our defensive effort and the way we rebounded."
Senior guards Tyler Hooker and Randall Shaw each hit a pair of 3-pointers as Hillcrest jumped out to a 22-9 lead in the first quarter.
"They shot the ball well early in the first quarter, and when this crowd shoots the ball well, they're going to be tough to beat," York coach Michael Dalton said.
Hooker led all scorers with 26 points, and Shaw added 17.
Hillcrest received contributions from a number of players, including Darius White, who tallied 15 points and seven rebounds.
"That's when we're at our best, when we're getting contributions from everyone," said Choplin. "That's scoring points or rebounding or the little stuff. When everybody's involved and contributing, that's when we're at our best."
The Rams kept putting together bursts of points, such as when C.J. Saunders came off the bench to hit four straight free throws, followed by back-to-back baskets from White. That pumped Hillcrest's lead to 19 with 5:49 left in the second quarter.
Down by 24 at the break, the Cougars scored the first seven points of the third period. Then Hooker hit two free throws, White made two of his own and Hooker followed with a driving layup, and the Rams were back on track.
"We're turning the program around at York," said Dalton. "We got a big first-round win. My kids played hard from the start at the tip to the end."
Wally Wilmore led York with 15 points, and Deshaw Andrews added 12.
Hillcrest hit another surge in the fourth quarter. After White made a free throw and then a layup, Hooker got behind the defense on back-to-back possessions for breakaway dunks. Shaw capped the 10-0 spurt with a jumper and a free throw.