The Nighthawks ran into a stiff Cowboy defense when they visited San Bernardino Tuesday night and trailed Cajon 15-13 as the first half came to a close.
Murrieta Valley’s offense struggled and could not get in sync in the first two periods, but it was a whole new ballgame in the second half.
Murrieta Valley put it all together and pulled away from the Cowboys right from the start of the third. Kevin Padlo exploded with nine of his 19 points in the third period to put the Nighthawks up by 11.
In the fourth quarter, Talon Watkins scored six of his eight points coming off the bench as Murrieta Valley continued to surge ahead. The Nighthawks outscored the Cowboys 19-12 in the final period to fly away with the victory 52-34.
Mitch Lenhart scored nine points, Reid Bohanan six and Tyler Bilton two for the Hawks.
Thomas Alexandre also dropped in eight points with seven rebounds for MVHS.
Coach Steve Tarabilda and his Nighthawks will now host Villa Park in the Division 2AA quarterfinals on Friday. The Spartans are coming off a 68-63 win over Keppel and are 22-6 overall this year.
In other local boys basketball action, Temecula Valley defeated Sunny Hills 89-71 to also advance to the 2AA quarterfinals. Great Oak's Wolfpack was elliminated from the 1AA playoffs by Eitwanda 60-50 Tuesday night.