"My role on the team is to be a leader," Rivera said, his wide smile still in evidence 10 minutes after the final buzzer. "I'm a senior and there are a lot of young guys on this team.
"It's up to me to be the one to step it up," he added.
Rivera's inspired play carried over to the rest of the Wildcats, who turned back Crawford's bid to upset the No. 1 seed of the tournament.
"Stellar defense," Overton said, referring to Brawley's effort down the stretch.
Crawford was coming off a 19-point third quarter that saw the Colts rally from a 33-27 deficit to a 48-47 lead entering the final stanza. In the third period alone the Colts drained five three-pointers.
In the fourth quarter, though, Crawford felt the Wildcat defense tighten. The Colts hit just one shot from the field before hitting a pair of late jumpers in the final 30 seconds, after the game had already been decided.
"The kids played with a lot of heart, with a lot of intensity," Overton said of the Wildcats. Especially in the fourth quarter.
Carlos Corral opened the fourth period by hitting a shot from within the lane. Moments later Rivera scored off a layup after taking a pass from Corral.
After Crawford buried a three-pointer to tie the game 51-51, the Wildcats went on a 12-0 run to ice the win. Rivera jump started the rally by firing a three-pointer from the top of the key off a pass from James Haley.
Moments later Lafayette Lofton hit two free throws. Jack Motter then scored from down low off a Rivera pass.
Rivera kept setting up teammates when he next passed to Miguel Melendrez in the lane for a bucket. With 3:33 to go Motter came up with a steal and layup that pushed Brawley's lead to 62-51.
Rivera capped the run by taking an offensive charge, and then by hitting a free throw moments later to mushroom the Wildcats' lead to 11 with just over two minutes to play.
In addition to Rivera, Brawley got 18 points from Lofton, 15 from Melendrez, nine from Corral, four from Motter and two from Haley.
Lofton had a double-double as he also pulled down 15 rebounds, including nine at the defensive end.
Rivera finished with five assists and a couple steals.
With the win Brawley (18-5) advances to the Section semi-finals Wednesday.
Horizon 96, Holtville 24
SAN DIEGO — The Holtville High School boys basketball team was knocked out of the CIF San Diego Section Division IV playoffs here Friday, losing 96-24 to Horizon.
Leading Holtville in the loss were Jacob Freeman with eight points and Jared Hilfiker with six.
The Vikings finish the season with a 10-13 overall record.
Santa Fe Christian 86,
Vincent Memorial 43
SOLANA BEACH — A 24-point effort by Dominic Jacobelli wasn't enough for the Vincent Memorial boys basketball team as it was bounced from the CIF San Diego Section Division V playoffs falling 86-43 to Santa Fe Christian here Friday.
Along with his 24 points, Jacobelli finished with eight rebounds. Matt Lankford added seven points and five rebounds for the Scots.
Vincent Memorial finishes the season with a 9-14 overall record.
Lincoln Academy 91, Calipatria 54
SAN DIEGO — The Calipatria High boys basketball team was no match for Lincoln Academy falling 91-54 in the second round of the CIF San Diego Section Division IV postseason here Friday.
Calipatria finishes the season with a 13-12 overall record.