HAYWARD — The Hayward High boys basketball team knows it can always count on its outside game with guards Jabreel Nasir and Davion Berry.
But the past few games the Farmers have developed an inside game.
The steady play of 6-foot-4 forward Keith Martin and the emergence of 6-4 center Demico Jackson has boosted Hayward to another level.
The Farmers got a combined 31 points from their two big men and turned in a solid defensive effort in Tuesday night's 78-51 crushing of visiting Archbishop Mitty-San Jose in a first-round game of the NorCal Division II playoffs.
"(Martin and I) push each other a lot in practice," said Jackson, who had a game-high 20 points and five rebounds. "We post hard against each other. We go after each other. We have been playing well the last few games."
Hayward (21-8) advances to the NorCal semifinals for the second consecutive season. The No. 3 Farmers travel to No. 2 Rocklin (30-2) for a Thursday game at 7 p.m. Rocklin defeated Pleasant Valley 72-53.
"I like our chances," Hayward coach Iman Mattox said. "As long as we keep playing hard and keep working, we will see just how far we can go."
The Farmers had four players finish in double figures. Berry delivered 18 points, 10 coming in the first quarter when Hayward raced to a 19-4 lead. Berry was one rebound away from a double-double.
Nasir added 13 points and Martin chipped in with 11.
Imani Stockstill had a tremendous defensive game, holding Mitty's top scorer, Brandon Scott, to just 11 points, six of those coming in the fourth quarter.
"We did a great job on him," Mattox said. "Stockstill did a good job getting through screens."
The undersized Monarchs (18-12) were outrebounded 46-15 in the game.
Hayward's victory avenged last year's 85-68 loss to Mitty in the NorCal semifinals.
"It feels good to send them home, because they sent us home last year," Martin said.
Chris Harley came off the bench and scored all seven of his points in the fourth quarter for the Farmers.
Contact Michael Bower at firstname.lastname@example.org.