NOGALES TOURNAMENT FINAL
ST. FRANCIS 85, LA SERNA 70
LA PUENTE — The third time proved to be the charm for the St. Francis High School basketball team.
Joey Walsh scored 31 points and Malakhi Jensen had 16 as the Golden Knights won their first tournament in three tries this month with an 85-70 victory over La Serna on Thursday to take the Nogales tournament title at Nogales High.
Sean Stephen had 10 points and Lucas Shin and Omari Moore had nine each for St. Francis, which improved to 9-3.
Cedric Sobers had 23 points and Daniel Canales 17 for the Lancers, who slipped to 12-2.
St. Francis, after La Serna pulled within 28-25 late in the second quarter, closed the first half with a 10-5 surge to lead 38-30 at halftime. The Golden Knights then pushed the advantage to 13 at 47-34 in the second half following a 5-foot leaner by Walsn and a three-point play by Jensen.
La Serna twice cut the deficit to seven points, the second at 58-51 following a layup and two free throws by Sobers a minute into the fourth quarter. But St. Francis countered with a Jensen’ 3-pointer, a Walsh’ three-point play and a Sean Stephen 3-pointer for a 77-62 lead with 2:02 left to play.
St. Francis’ Joey Walsh: “It’s a great team win. It’s definitely a confidence-builder for us going into league play next week. I know we are going to make a special run this year, so it’s great to be able to win this championship. It will get us forward going into league play.”
— Stephen Ramirez
HH WILSON TOURNAMENT FINAL
WHITTIER 78, CHARTER OAK 63
HACIENDA HEIGHTS — Whittier High School boys basketball coach Chris Dalley said he and his team sat on the bench reflecting on what could have been.The Cardinals handled tough Charter Oak 78-63 in the Wilson tournament championship game on Thursday night. But Dalley said he and his team thought about how they could’ve won two tournament championships this season.
He was referring to a 55-51 heartbreaking loss to San Dimas earlier this month in the Glendora Winter Shootout championship. Dalley said the win over Charter Oak was redemption.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Jesus Gomez sparked a second-quarter surge for the Cardinals for a 40-23 halftime lead. He scored 14 of his 31 points in the quarter while coming off the bench. Gomez is normally a starter, but sat out the first quarter because of disciplinary reasons.
After Gomez entered the game, Whittier (9-5) outscored the Chargers 25-12 in the second quarter. He hit the first of his three 3-pointers in the quarter to put Whittier up 27-16. Gomez ended the quarter by drilling a 3-pointer at the top of the key with 2 seconds left to give Whittier a 17-point cushion.
Spencer Torres scored 17 points for Whittier. All-tournament selection Alex Rodriguez had 13 points and seven rebounds for Whittier and Andrew Martinez scored 10 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
While Whittier’s offense got rolling, its defense stepped up too. The Cardinals forced 24 turnovers.
Whittier coach Chris Dalley: “This was a confidence-builder heading into league play. We talked about winning a championship and knowing what it would be like heading into league play.”
— Donald Morrison