Joshua Hamilton took the long road to the spotlight.
Central Catholic High's star guard was suspended for the Raiders' Sac-Joaquin Section title run a season ago. He violated team rules and was forced to watch the school's overtime victory over West Campus in street clothes.
Hamilton said the punishment forced him to grow up, reminding him that the game he's played since he was 6 will move on without him. As a result, Hamilton turned his senior season into a showcase of his maturity.
"I'm taking things more seriously; more from a leadership aspect," Hamilton said before the start of Saturday's final. "It's not about me. It's about everyone else."
Hamilton will lead the top-seeded Raiders into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III final against No. 2 Beyer, the city of Modesto's top public-school program. Hamilton sat down with The Bee before the start of the game to talk about his opponent, wearing a target each time he takes the floor, and the impact last season's suspension had on him.