La Jolla students compete among 72 high school basketball teams in Holiday Classic tournament

Torrey Pines High School defeats the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers of Chatsworth 56-35 to win the Mayor’s Cup Division in the Holiday Classic on Dec. 29, 2012. (Photo by Michael Ragovin)
Torrey Pines High School defeats the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers of Chatsworth 56-35 to win the Mayor’s Cup Division in the Holiday Classic on Dec. 29, 2012. (Photo by Michael Ragovin)
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Torrey Pines High School defeats the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers of Chatsworth 56-35 to win the Mayor’s Cup Division in the Holiday Classic on Dec. 29, 2012. (Photo by Michael Ragovin)

By Michael Ragovin

The 23rd annual Holiday Classic presented by Lucky Duck Foundation took place Dec. 26-29, 2012 with teams from across San Diego country participating by invitation only.

Five different venues hosted the 72 teams. Each venue represented a different division: Torrey Pines High School-National Division, La Jolla Country Day High School-American Division, Rancho Bernado High School-Senator’s Cup Division, Carlsbad High School-Mayor’s Cup Division and Santa Fe Christian High School-Governor’s Cup Division.

Each division was a tournament within the tournament crowning a separate champion, most valuable player, all tournament team, etc.

Tournament director John Olgive said during his pre-tournament press conference that, ”For a young man who is able to play in a national game in front of a packed house, it’s a lifetime experience and memory.” Historically, many participants have gone on to careers in the NBA, such as Derrick Williams and Kyrie Irving, who were the No. 1 and 2 draft choices a couple of years ago. Chase Budinger from La Costa Canyon also was an NBA draftee.

Olgive said the tournament is able to attract high quality players and teams year after year because “this is San Diego and we have been doing this for 22 years. Our hospitality is second to none.”

Many college coaches were in attendance to observe the highly sought-after athletes, including SDSU head basketball coach Steve Fisher, who was observing his two signees from Sheldon High School in Sacramento — D’erryl Williams and Dakari Allen.

• Torrey Pines High School wins Mayor’s Cup Division

Three of the division title games were played at Torrey Pines on Dec. 29, beginning with The Mayor’s Cup Division.

This contest matched the Torrey Pines Falcons against Sierra Canyon Trailblazers of Chatsworth with Torrey Pines winning the championship 56-35.

It began as a tightly-contested game with the score at the end of the first quarter Torrey Pines 9, Sierra Canyon 8. Torrey Pines started pulling away during the second half of the second quarter with the half ending Torrey Pines 26, Sierra Canyon 20.

Torrey Pines tightened up its defense causing turnovers and a cold shooting spell to begin the third quarter and continued throughout the rest of the game. The Falcons outscored the Trailblazers 30 to 15 in the second half.

Sierra Canyon committed 19 personal fouls as compared to seven for Torrey Pines. The Falcons scored 11 points on free throws and Sierra Canyon missed both of theirs. This accounted for half of the point differential.

Sam Worman of Torrey Pines led all scorers with 20 points and was the Mayor’s Cup Division Most Valuable Player. Dominic Hovasse chipped in with 17 points and Connor Milmoe was named to the all Mayor’s Cup Division tournament team for Torrey Pines.

• Mission Hills High School wins American Division

The second championship game was for the American Division title between the Mission Hills Grizzlies of San Marcos and the Mesa Jackrabbits of Mesa, Ariz. The Mission Hills Grizzlies prevailed 60-53.

The game was fast paced from the beginning. Both teams had difficulty converting layup opportunities throughout the game and could not effectively get the ball down low to their big men. Mesa’s 6-foot-10 center Isaac Allen had only three, two-point field goals and made three of seven free throws for a total 9 points. Mission Hills 7-foot center Kameron Rooks had only five two-point field goals and converted one of five free throw attempts adding up to 15 total points. The score at the end of the first quarter was Mission Hills 18, Mesa 16.

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