LINCOLN PARK – The second-annual San Diego vs. Los Angeles Hoops Challenge proved quite challenging for some of the best teams in the section. San Diego won only one of the six games in the all-day showcase Saturday at Lincoln High, as Torrey Pines was the only local team victorious and top-ranked La Costa Canyon, Lincoln, and St. Augustine all suffered losses.
Torrey Pines vs. Long Beach Jordan
Torrey Pines starts fast, holds off Jordan rally for narrow victory
In control against Long Beach Jordan for a majority of the game, Torrey Pines had to hold off a late Panthers rally to prevail. Ahead by eight with three minutes left, the Falcons went scoreless but survived for a 50-48 victory in the second game of the day.
“It was a grind,” said Torrey Pines senior guard Joe Rahon. “Coming off the game against La Costa Canyon last night we were all tired – tired legs and tired bodies – we had a great first half and played really well and down the stretch we just had to hold on.”
Torrey Pines (9-7) started fast against Jordan and had a 21-10 lead after the first quarter. The Falcons scored the first five points of the game and capped the quarter with a 9-2 run, not phased by the Panthers’ defensive pressure and trapping.
“We like it when teams pressure us because me and Garrett (Galvin) can get in the lane, create, and kick it to guys for open shots,” Rahon said. In the second quarter, Torrey Pines led by as much as 14 before Jordan (10-5) scored the last six points to make it 30-21 at half. The Falcons had a 15-point lead in the third quarter, but the Panthers again rallied and trailed by 10 entering the fourth.
“We had some good looks and we just didn’t make them,” Rahon said. “We’re going to need to make those shots to put the game away and make separation, and make free throws down the stretch.”
Senior guard Sean Murray hit two key three-pointers in the fourth quarter, the second of which gave Torrey Pines a 50-42 lead with 3:15 left. Jordan used pressure to slowly chip away at the Falcons’ eight-point lead, and the Panthers pulled to within two with 1:14 left.
“They were pressuring us and being really physical,” Rahon said.
Leading 50-48, Torrey Pines had an opportunity to ice the game at the free throw line with 22 seconds left but after sophomore forward Sam Worman missed the front end of a one-and-one, Jordan got the ball back with a chance to win. The Panthers missed three shots in the final possession, the last of which was a desperation three-pointer at the buzzer.
“I’m just glad we held on,” Rahon said.
Rahon scored a game-high 18 points to lead Torrey Pines and Murray added 12 – all three pointers. Junior guard Kaleahl Ferguson scored 15 points to lead Jordan.
“Playing L.A. teams is fun and the talent is on another level than anything we have seen in San Diego,” Rahon said. “It was a lot of fun and it was good for us.”
Torrey Pines – 50 (21-9-10-10)
Rahon 18, Murray 12, Galvin 9, Milmoe 6, Worman 5 (starters)
Jordan – 48 (10-11-9-18)
Ferguson 15, Spencer 9, Springer 4, Johnson 4, Moore 3 (starters) Shannon 7, North 4, Sallie 2
La Costa Canyon vs. La Verne Lutheran
LCC starts slow, finishes slower in loss to La Verne Lutheran
La Costa Canyon has been a slow-starting team this season, and against La Verne Lutheran the top-ranked Mavericks paired a slow start with a slow finish to lose their second game of the season. La Costa Canyon erased a 17-point first half deficit in furious fashion, but ultimately fell flat in a 62-48 loss to the Trojans.
“It was a game of ups and downs and we certainly finished on a down,” said La Costa Canyon head coach Dave Cassaw. “It was disappointing.”
La Costa Canyon (16-2) didn’t score in the first five minutes of the game, and started out in a 10-0 hole in the opening quarter. The Mavericks had trouble early on against a La Verne Lutheran zone that featured 6-foot-10 Arizona-bound senior Grant Jerrett on the inside.
“We haven’t seen a whole lot of zone yet and we needed better ball movement and to attack it from the inside out,” Cassaw said. “I think our guys were a little intimidated by their big guy in the initial stages – we were afraid to go inside and compete with him in there.”
By the end of the first quarter La Costa Canyon had cut the Lutheran lead to five points, but the Mavericks slowed again in the second quarter and fell further behind. Lutheran (12-4) made three-pointers on three straight possessions to build a 30-13 lead with 3:26 left in the half.
“We just had to get energized,” Cassaw said. “Our offense was affecting our defense, and we were standing and not getting back in transition.”
Facing a sizeable deficit, La Costa Canyon stormed back by scoring the last 12 points of the second quarter and starting the third quarter with an 8-2 run. The Mavericks took their first lead of the game on a three-pointer by junior guard Jeff Van Dyke with 6:00 remaining in the third quarter.
“This group competes, and I felt like it was a matter of hanging in, stringing two or three stops in a row together,” Cassaw said. “Our offense just wasn’t consistent enough.”
La Costa Canyon and Lutheran traded baskets for the rest of the third quarter, and the Trojans scored the last four points of the quarter to take a 47-43 lead. In the fourth quarter, La Costa Canyon scored only five points and Lutheran pulled away to hand the Mavericks a double-digit defeat.
“We had given them such a lead and spent so much energy getting back in that it cost us late in the game,” Cassaw said.
Senior forward Matt Shrigley led La Costa Canyon with 17 points, and Van Dyke hit four threes to finish with 12 points. Jerrett finished with a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead Lutheran, and junior guard and fellow Arizona commit Eric Cooper scored 22 points.
“It was a good thing for us to see a team with that kind of size,” Cassaw said. “These games are always good to learn about your team and find things you can continue to work on and improve.”
La Verne Lutheran – 62 (13-17-17-15)
Jerrett 23, Cooper 22, Miller 7, Okongwu 2, Beard 0 (starters) Osorno 8
La Costa Canyon – 48 (8-17-18-5)
Shrigley 17, Van Dyke 12, Travers 7, Sachrison 5, Beery 2 (starters) Arquilla 5
Lincoln vs. Woodland Hills Taft
Dismal first half dooms Lincoln against Taft in nightcap
During halftime of the nightcap between host Lincoln and Woodland Hills Taft started, a brief power outage left both scoreboards blank and caused a short delay. That outage wasn’t nearly as long as the offensive power outage the fourth-ranked Hornets suffered in the first two quarters of their 52-48 loss to the Toreadors.
“I think that was the worst shooting performance I have ever been a part of,” said Lincoln senior guard Tyree Robinson. “We shot terribly in the first half, especially considering we were in our own gym.”
Lincoln (6-6) scored six points in the first 11 minutes of the game as Taft (11-3) slowly built a double-digit lead by the middle of the second quarter. The Hornets only had eight points with two minutes to play in the half before scoring the final five points of the quarter to make it a 23-13 game at halftime.
“Shots weren’t falling,” Tyree Robinson said. “Our coaches told us to keep shooting, that shots were going to fall and that we just weren’t hitting.”
Tyree and Tyrell Robinson combined for two points in the first quarter, but Lincoln’s shooting woes weren’t limited to the twins. As a team, the Hornets missed all 10 of their free-throw attempts in the first half.
“Our coaches told us that we were good and to stop panicking,” Tyree Robinson said. “There was a lot of frustration while we were playing.”
In the third quarter, it took Lincoln just three minutes to erase a dismal offensive effort in the first half. The Hornets blitzed Taft with a 15-2 run to start the second half, taking the lead on a Tyree Robinson three-point play with 4:44 to play in the quarter.
“We just picked it up, took it to another notch and just played Lincoln basketball,” Tyree Robinson said. “That got us in back in the game.”
Lincoln trailed 33-32 at the start of the fourth quarter, and Tyree Robinson put the Hornets ahead with a three-pointer on the opening possession. In the final minutes Lincoln and Taft went back and forth, but the Hornets couldn’t grab the lead despite numerous chances.
With 37 seconds left, senior forward Jeremiah Turner hit a three-pointer to pull Lincoln to within two. After a timeout the Hornets opted not to foul, reluctantly played defense, and then fouled Taft senior guard Kris Yanku with two seconds left.
“It was a miscommunication,” Tyree Robinson said. “Our coach thought we could play lockup defense with the amount of time we had left, but it was difficult because a lot of players were playing with four fouls.”
Yanku made both his free throws and Lincoln didn’t have enough time to avoid defeat. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Hornets, who conclude their national slate in the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions Jan. 12-14 in Springfield, Mo.
“We’re coming along really well,” Tyree Robinson said. “This is the hardest schedule we’ve had since I’ve been at Lincoln – but it doesn’t get any better than playing the top teams in the state and the nation.”
Tyree Robinson led all scorers with 19 points, including 15 in the second half. Tyrell Robinson added 10 points for Lincoln.
“I just tried to get to the rim more, and shots were falling once I got to the rim,” Tyree Robinson said.
Kris Yanku led Taft with 16 points, and the Toreadors’ senior frontcourt of Brandon Perry and Anthony January each scored 15. Taft has also beaten La Costa Canyon and Torrey Pines this season.
Taft – 52 (12-11-10-19)
Yanku 16, January 15, Perry 15, Jones 1, Hankins 0 (starters) Gentle 4, Avila 1
Lincoln – 48 (6-7-19-16)
Tyree Robinson 19, Tyrell Robinson 10, Turner 9, Martin 8, Spates 0 (starters) Whipple 2
St. Augustine vs. Gardena Serra
St. Augustine can’t keep up with Serra, suffers third loss in four days
In the third game of the day, third-ranked St. Augustine ran with Gardena Serra for a quarter before turnovers slowed the Saints down. St. Augustine fell to the Cavs 60-48 to lose its third game in four days after starting the season 13-0.
Both teams played at a quick pace to start the game, and St. Augustine (13-3) was tied at 19 with Serra (13-1) after the first quarter. The Cavs scored the first six points of the second quarter and had control of the game the rest of the way, leading the Saints 36-28 at halftime and having at least an eight-point advantage for the entire second half.
Senior guard Drew Peterson led St. Augustine with 14 points, and senior forward Juan Moreno had 13 points and 10 rebounds. For Serra, senior guard Dakari Tucker and senior forward Daddy Ugbede each scored a game-high 18 points.
Serra – 60 (19-17-12-12)
Tucker 18, Ndumanya 9, Mack 6, Rodgers 0, Cook 0 (starters) Ugbede 18, Wyatt 3, Nash 2, Salahuddin 2, Hailey 2
St. Augustine – 48 (19-9-12-8)
Peterson 14, Moreno 13, Madson 6, Lemar 6, Kell 2 (starters) Ryan 3, Drapp 2, Jones 2
Francis Parker vs. Los Angeles Windward
Francis Parker adjusts too late to tempo of talented Windward
In a small school showdown, Francis Parker took too long to settle in against one of the state’s best teams and couldn’t catch up. The Lancers trailed Los Angeles Windward by double digits after the first quarter and played the Wildcats even the rest of the way in a 71-59 defeat in the fifth game of the day.
“We’ve been trying to work on it in practice, trying to simulate a speed we’re going to see against Windward,” said Francis Parker senior guard Dalante Dunklin. “We started off slow, but we stepped up when we needed to and that was a good game for us and gives us a lot to improve on.”
Francis Parker (5-8) had trouble keeping up with Windward early and trailed 15-4 midway through the first quarter. The Lancers trailed by 12 points at the end of the opening quarter even with a Dunklin four-point play at the buzzer.
“We were really excited to get out there and play and we had jitters,” Dunklin said. “The jitterbug got us and we kind of started off wrong.”
By the second quarter, Francis Parker had adjusted and was matching Windward (12-5) on both ends of the floor. The Lancers trailed 35-25 at the half after a quarter in which Windward senior guard and Loyola Marymount-bound Nicholas Stover scored 10 of the Wildcats’ 12 points.
“They are a great team,” Dunklin said. “They play together, everybody knows the role on their team, and they really execute well.”
Francis Parker hung with Windward in the second half, but couldn’t make enough defensive stops to get back in the game. The Lancers have lost five of their last seven games headed into Coastal League play next week, but Francis Parker’s performance against Windward shows this is a better team than recent results suggest.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries and it’s difficult to get the chemistry back,” Dunklin said. “But everybody is starting to get healthy, we’re starting to get a feel for each other’s game. We’re a much better team than 5-8 and this month we are going to prove that.”
Dunklin led Francis Parker with 23 points, and was one of two Lancers in double figures along with sophomore guard Evan Fitzner (16 points). The UC Santa Barbara-bound guard spent most of the game driving right into Windward’s defense.
“It’s more of a feeling – what the game is looking like, whether we’re down, or if I feel the need to score to get the team going,” Dunklin said of his offensive approach.
Windward’s two-leading scorers – Stover (31 points) and junior guard Jordan Wilson (13) – celebrated their birthdays on Saturday in addition to a win. That inside-outside duo is a big reason why the Wildcats have been of the best teams in the state this season.
Windward – 71 (23-12-18-18)
Stover 31, Wilson 13, Lloyd 11, Hemsley 6, Dawson 1 (starters) Jivani 4, Davis 3, Walker 2
Francis Parker – 59 (11-14-15-19)
Dunklin 23, E. Fitzner 16, B. Fitzner 9, C. Polk 5, Baker 6 (starters)
Horizon vs. Compton Centennial
Cold finish costs Horizon against Centennial in Challenge opener
In the first game of the day, Horizon went back and forth with Compton Centennial for three quarters before cooling off in a 57-46 loss. The Panthers were tied with the Apaches at the end of the third quarter but scored only three points in the final quarter.
Senior guard Markel Byrd scored 13 points to lead Horizon (5-8). Three players finished in double figures for Centennial (2-10), led by junior guard Mervin Benjamin’s game-high 18 points.
Centennial – 57 (18-13-12-14)
Benjamin 18, Davis 16, Townsell 12, Garrette 3, Lowe 2, Waller 2, Smith 2, Harris 1, Shepard 1
Horizon – 46 (13-19-11-3)
Byrd 13, C. Underwood 11, E. Underwood 7, Rysedorph 6, Veasey 6, Cretain 3
Pictured: Torrey Pines guard Joe Rahon goes up for a layup between Jordan guards Kaleahl Ferguson (left) and Milan Meeks (right) in the second game of the San Diego vs. Los Angeles Hoops Challenge
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