State No. 4 Bishop Montgomery of Torrance downs De La Salle of Concord in hard fought game to take title at #D1Bound Christmas Classic at La Salle in Pasadena. At the Maxpreps Holiday Classic in Palm Springs, No. 2 Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth of Chatsworth wins a dramatic final against Pebblebrook (Ga.). At the Under Armour Holiday Classic, No. 9 Fairfax of Los Angeles served notice it has the making of a nationally-ranked club with championship title at tourney marred by a melee in a Monday semifinal contest.
Bishop Montgomery coach Doug Mithcell knew his once beaten team was in for a tough game on Tuesday night against unbeaten De La Salle of Concord and its hard-driving coach, Frank Allocco. The Knights usually outmaneuver and out tough their opponents with a disciplined style of ball that wears teams down. Mitchell knew that wasn’t going to happen against the Spartans, so his team just kept on hitting from the outside and making tough shots down the stretch when De La Salle cooled to take the championship of the #D1Bound Christmas Classic with a 61-55 victory.
With under a minute to go in the third period, De La Salle junior Nikhil Peters hit two big 3-pointers to give De La Salle a 44-42 advantage in a nip-and-tuck affair. With De La Salle (8-1) leading 46-45, sophomore guard Ethan Thompson hit a 3-pointer to give Bishop Montgomery (14-1) a 48-46 lead it would not relinquish. With 2:45 remaining, his older brother Stevie, a 6-foot-2 all-state senior guard, hit another 3-pointer to give the Knights a 53-47 cushion. Peters answered with a conventional 3-point play, but the Spartans could not get any closer, as a key turnover with approximately one minute remaining in the game and a couple of empty possessions while the shot clock ran down sealed their fate.
Thompson Jr., the son of the former Crenshaw High legend and Syracuse standout with the same name, closed the game with an emphatic dunk and finished with a game-high 27 points. Senior Christian Oshita added 12 points, while Ethan Thompson and Jordan Schakel, freshmen starters on last year’s CIF Division IV state title club, chipped in eight and 10 points, respectively.
Peters, whom Allocco gets to play to his potential with tough love, led De La Salle with 19 points. Fellow junior Jordan Ratinho added 13 points, with three coming after intermission. Peters and Ratinho were each credited with six rebounds a piece.
For Bishop Montgomery, it’s looking more like the 61-60 loss to St. Francis of Mountain View at the Mission Prep Christmas Classic was a fluke. Many of its players had flu-like symptoms, but Mitchell is not one to make excuses. In fact, he feels the loss could have a silver lining.
“We didn’t play well in that game,” Mitchell said. “When we got the lead, we stopped playing and started looking toward the championship game. We went cold, but it might have been the best thing for us.
“I told the guys playing against De La Salle we were going to have to match their intensity. We have some young guys, but our sophomores are not really sophomores. It’s not that surprising they’re playing at this level because they got so much experience as freshmen.”
In the third place game of the #D1Bound event, Campbell Hall used a 19-0 second half run to down Village Christian of Sun Valley, 69-58. Campbell Hall led 41-38, when UCLA bound guard Aaron Holiday led a surge that gave the Vikings a 57-41 advantage with 6:33 remaining in the final period. Holiday nailed three 3-pointers and scored on a variety of moves right in front of the basket driving in from various angles. The relentless 6-foot-1 guard finished with 33 points (26 after intermission) to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.
Senior guard Khalil Simplis, who previously played at Campbell Hall, led the Crusaders with 21 points and four assists in a game in which USC-bound forward Benny Boatwright did not suit up for Village Christian. Senior guard Cliff Powell, a transfer from Taft of Woodland Hills, added 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Wild Finishes in San Diego & Palm Springs
The Maxpreps Holiday Classic in Palm Springs and the Under Armour Holiday Classic had more of a national flavor than the #D1Bound Christmas Classic, but two SoCal clubs won the major division titles of each of the tournaments, albeit in controversial fashion.
Over at the Maxpreps Holiday Classic, Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth, ranked No. 2 in the state, won the open division with a 67-66 victory over Pebblebrook (Ga.). In a wild finish, there were two lead changes with 0.8 seconds remaining.
Sierra Canyon’s Cody Riley, last year’s state freshman of the year, went to the free throw line with 24.2 seconds remaining and made one to give his team a 65-64 lead. Clemson-bound guard Ty Hudson then gave Pebblebrook a 66-65 lead with 0.8 seconds remaining when he scored on a runner. The game seemed over, when a Pebblebrook defender guarding the in-bounds passer was called for a charge on Sierra Canyon junior guard Devearl Ramsey, who slid over to the baseline just before the defender followed the inbounder up the sideline towards the basket (VIDEO). Ramsey proceeded to nail both free throws to give Sierra Canyon the improbable one-point victory.
Ramsey finished with 10 points for Sierra Canyon (8-1), which has only lost one game so far this year (to Grassroots Hoops FAB 50 ranked Trinity of Louisville at the City of Palms Classic) without starting sophomore forward Ira Lee. Riley scored 14 points, as did sophomore guard Remy Martin, who was spectacular in the second quarter when Riley and Ramsey were saddled with foul trouble.
Hudson led Pebblebrook with 21 points.
State No. 3 Mater Dei of Santa Ana took third place in the desert with a 54-41 victory over No. 10 Etiwanda, which lost to Sierra Canyon in the semifinals. Mater Dei lost to Pebblebrook in its semifinal, 82-79.
State No. 9 Fairfax of Los Angeles improved to 10-0 on the season with a 56-51 win over No. 5 Redondo Union of Redondo Beach in the National Division title game of the Under Armour Holiday Classic at Torrey Pines High School. The win was a bit ho-hum because Redondo Union was without starters Billy Preston and Elijah Nesbit, who were ejected in the closing seconds of the Sea Hawks’ wild 58-54 semifinal victory over The Patrick School of Elizabeth, N.J. Redondo trailed in that game 54-51 with 7.5 seconds remaining before the melee broke out, but won the game on six technical foul shots it was awarded after the scuffle was sorted out by the officials.
In the title game, Redondo Union actually led 30-23, but the Lions took control in the second half behind the spectacular play of sixth man Lorne Currie Jr., a well-traveled guard. The cat-quick Currie led a surge to begin the fourth control and Harvey Kitani’s team held on at the end, as Redondo Union kept battling despite being short-handed. Currie netted 20 points to lead four Fairfax players in double figures and was named tourney MVP. Junior guard Leland Green led Redondo with 22 points.
The Patrick School took out its frustrations from what transpired on Monday evening by completely routing No. 7 Centennial of Corona in the third place game, 68-39. Jamir Harris of The Patrick School made eight 3-pointers and finished with 28 points. The game was a bit anti-climatic, but the visitors from New Jersey did suit up the five players who were ejected from the previous game against the Huskies. Per CIF state rules, Redondo’s ejected players were not allowed on the bench or in the gym in its next game.
For more details on these post-Christams tournaments and details of the fracas that marred the event in San Diego, please visit GrassrootsHoops.net.