Nearly every local basketball team was in tournament action over the winter break. Several teams made runs at championships while others are still putting the pieces together for a late-season push.
Here are some headlines from the holiday break:
Canyon boys win first tourney in 10 years
Canyon went a perfect 6-0 over the holiday break and won its first tournament in 10 years after winning the Valley Temple City tournament. Junior Eric Kubel earned tournament MVP honors after averaging just under 22 points a game. Senior guard Steven Sorrow also earned all-tournament honors.
The Cowboys also picked up lopsided non-league wins over Lancaster and St. Genevieve. Canyon finishes the holiday break hitting its stride with an average margin of victory of nearly 26 points.
Canyon entered its winter break on a five-game skid but has responded well. The team will look to carry the momentum back into league play, in hopes of returning to the postseason for the third straight year.
Trinity girls finish bronze at Burroughs tournament
The Knights had a great showing at the John Burroughs’ tournament after defeating the Providence Pioneers, 59-57, in the third-place game. In just her fifth game of the season, Knights junior Cassady Freude drilled the buzzer beater to take down the Pioneers in overtime.
Senior Emma Schaaf continued to put up monster numbers and finished with 31 points and 19 rebounds against Providence. Schaaf also registered her first career triple-double earlier in the tournament after registering 20 points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocks against Glendale. Schaaf was named to the all-tournament team.
Senior Iris Weber also added a double-double in the win with 18 points and 10 boards. The Knights return to league play this week as winners of nine of their last 10 outings.
West Ranch boys finish bronze at Damien
West Ranch also picked up a trio of wins at Damien, and defeated a strong St. Pius X-St. Matthias Warriors team, 67-63, in the Gold Bracket third-place game. Senior sharpshooter Zach Bauman hit five triples and finished with 16 points in the win, while Darrell Morris added 13 points and seven assists. Senior Bishop Brooks scored 14 points for the Cats.
Tracy Bryden has officially joined the lineup after the sit-out period ended on Dec. 24. Bryden registered 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in his season debut.
The Wildcats dropped their second-round game to the Dixie Flyers, one of the highest-ranked teams in Utah. Senior James Evans scored 19 points in the loss.
Saugus girls keep finding ways to win
The Lady Centurions had an up-and-down break but still added five more wins to their 10-8 record.
Saugus needed a breath of fresh air after dropping their last-minute game at Trinity and losing a gut-wrenching game to the CIF reigning 2AA champion La Salle Lancers, as the Cents scored just six points through four quarters. The Centurions again looked off against the Mark Keppel Aztecs, down 22-5 early in the second quarter before finally changing the tides. Down a pair of starters, Saugus fought its way back into a close game and prevailed, 49-46
The Cents also won a defensive tournament game over the hosting La Cañada Spartans, 33-32. Sophomore guard EvaMarie Rios hit a 3-pointer with seven seconds left on the clock to win the game. Saugus held La Cañada to just 17 points through three quarters of play.
Rios and senior forward Destiny Onovo earned all-tournament honors.
Saugus boys keep piling in wins
Saugus made it to the semifinals at Damien before running into a tough Bosco Tech team. Senior Justin Perez averaged nearly 16 points and five rebounds a game in the Bronze bracket. Forward Max Guardado also played well throughout the week at Damien and averaged a double-double with 12.25 points and 10 rebounds per game.
The Centurions were riding high on a four-game win streak after a strong finish at the Big Valley Winter Classic hoops tournament. Perez earned all-tournament honors, averaging just under 17 points and seven rebounds.
Grizzlies and Indians tear through Hart boys’ tournament
Both Hart and Golden Valley picked up multiple wins over the break as each finished out the Hart round-robin-style tournament 3-0.
A couple of sophomore Grizzlies entered the record books in the team’s 78-57 win over Lancaster. Forward Wyatt Printz set a new program record with five blocks while Alex Villejo tied a school record with six 3-pointers. Bradley Christofferson also sank four 3-balls in the win. Senior point guard Tristan Tiu averaged 15 points per game throughout the Hart Holiday Classic.
The Grizzlies head back into Foothill League action as winners of four in a row.
Both teams also picked up multiple wins in the Big Valley Winter Classic. Hart’s only loss over the break was at the hands of the Open Division hopeful Notre Dame Knights. Senior guard Deven Strong was named to the BVWC all-tournament team after a handful of standout games.
Hart heads back into league play on fire with seven straight wins.
Valencia girls hit rough patch without star player
The Vikings had a rough winter break as the team had tons of tournament action withouts its focal point Libby Oxciano, who is out with an ankle injury.
In Oxciano’s absence, sophomore Cara McKell has stepped up and added more to her already full plate. McKell has five straight double-doubles, highlighted by her most recent 27-point, 12-rebound performance in Valencia’s win over Foothill of Nevada.
Freshmen Kaydence Johnson and Kiera McLaughlin, and junior Diana Reyes, have also played well over the break.
Castaic finishes third at Oxford tournament
The Coyotes won eight of their nine matchups over the break. Castaic won the third-place game at the Oxford tournament after defeating South Hills in the bronze game.
Castaic knocked off two of the three ranked Division 4A opponents the team faced at Oxford. The Coyotes blew the doors off Apple Valley, 81-30, and took down South Hills, 57-38, in the third-place game.
Senior forward Kevin Curtis was named to the all-tournament team. Curtis finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds against Norte Vista. Senior guard Tashaun Barron had a unique double-double in the win with 10 points and 10 blocks, while Christian Clark had 20 points. Coyotes point guard Ethan Thomas also played well and added 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Castaic continues to shine in non-league play and finishes the holiday break having won nine of its last 10 games.