We’ve been talking about the holiday tournaments on here for about a week, so stick with me on this post if you absolutely hate boys basketball tournaments in late December. We could have gone a different direction for this week’s rendition of The Fifth Quarter, but why deviate when you’ve arrived at the championship game?
Four local teams will play for titles today in large, out-of-state tournaments. Those teams — Jackson, Garfield, Newport, Eastside Catholic and Rainier Beach — have beat some of the best around the country to arrive at the opportunity in front of them. Let’s take a look at each team.
Tournament: MaxPreps Holiday Classic
Games: Beat Harvard-Westlake 53-44; beat Columbia Christian 68-48; beat Long Beach Poly 53-52.
Next: Capital Christian (Calif.)
Moment: Brian Zehr hit a game-winning three-pointer as time ran out against Long Beach Poly.
Quotable: “It would mean a lot. Just to get asked to be in an event like this is exciting. Then to have success and to have a chance to [win it] is exciting.” – coach Steve Johnson.
Extra: Jackson is trying to become the first non-California team to win the MaxPreps Holiday Classic.
Tournament: Las Vegas Prep Championship
Games: Beat Mojave 80-70; beat University 76-60; beat Las Vegas 85-66
Next: Valley (Nev.)
Moment: Guard Tramaine Isabell scored 47 points, including 34 in the second half, of a semifinal win over Las Vegas. Isabell helped the Bulldogs overcome a 27-26 halftime deficit. The Washington State commit hit 9-of-12 three-pointers, had nine rebounds and three assists.
Quotable: “I think this type of adversity was really good because we played a team that was more talented than us, from top to bottom there is no question about it. I think we just kind of gutted some things out.” – coach Ed Haskins on facing adversity.
Extra: Garfield managed to win on Saturday despite Brayon Blake, Reynaldo Cheney and Torrance Baker fouling out.
Tournament: Chaminade Holiday Classic
Games: Beat Bishop Manogue 82-49; beat St. Bonaventure 90-41; beat Valencia 71-69
Moment: Mandrell Worthy scored 27 points in the two-point semifinal win over Valencia. Worthy is averaging 21.3 points per game during the tournament.
Quotable: “I’m really proud of my kids. We feel like this year is the year for us to make a run.” – coach Bill Liley before the tournament.
Next: Chaminade (Calif.)
Tournament: Les Schwab Invitational
Games: Beat Grant 93-66; beat Jefferson 90-72; beat Whitney Young 89-82
Next: Bishop Gorman (Nev.)
Moment: Rainier Beach beat No. 1 recruit Jahlil Okafor and Whitney Young in a game that some have dubbed an intant classic. The win over No. 18 Whitney Young put the Vikings into the championship game against No. 17 Bishop Gorman and solidify their place as national contenders.
Quotable: “Before we even came into the game, we thought we could beat anybody in the country. We got to have that attitude. We’re trying to win a national title.” – senior Shaqquan Aaron told the Les Schwab Invitiational.
Tournament: Cactus Jam
Games: Beat Fortuna 67-57; Beat Country Day 71-67
Next: Hoover (Ohio)
Moment: Will Ferris and Jake Higgins combined to score 53 points in the semifinal win over Country Day.
Quotable: “I think for me, it’s very important. I think they have a mindset that they can play with the best.” – coach Steve Haizlip on winning tournament games.