Francis Parker's Bryce Fitzner (left) battles Mission Bay's TJ Gatdoar for a rebound.
Francis Parker and host Mission Bay entered Wednesday’s 66th Kiwanis Tournament opener out of the Top 10.
It’s difficult to rank two teams that midway through December were playing their first games of the season.
That may soon change, especially for Parker, which not only was impressive inside and out in the 64-39 victory but has a chance to play some high-quality teams the next two weeks.
“We have something like 10 games in 12 days,” said Lancers coach Jim Tomey, “including playing in the National Division of the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic. I don’t know if we belong there, but we’ll see.”
Figuring that the football team might go to the state playoffs and knowing that basketball starters Khaleel Jenkins (6-1 sophomore) and Bryce Fitzner (6-8 senior) were on that team, Tomey opted to start late.
Evan Fitzner, an athletic 6-foot-9 junior forward, set the tempo early, burying three long shots from beyond the arc as Parker jumped to a 12-5 lead and never trailed. Fitzner finished with 28 points despite playing sparingly in the final eight minutes.
“I’ve worked on shooting the three a lot,” said Fitzner. “But we really wanted to get the football players back and ready before we played.”
Mission Bay coach Dennis Kane wasn’t as worried about football, but he felt a later start would help some of his players overcome injuries.
Though the Buccaneers could not match up defensively against Francis Parker, they attacked and kept it close for a half before eight straight Evan Fitzner points gave the Lancers a 14-point lead in the third quarter.
While the Bucs, who were led by Jared Kane’s 11 points, looked as if it were the season-opener, Parker appeared in midseason form.
Not only were the Lancers taller, they took — and made — high-percentage shots.
It was on defense, though, where they were really impressive, forcing 26 turnovers and holding all-league returnee Andre Petties-Wilson to just seven points — all in the second quarter.
“This is a young team (one senior, a junior, two sophomores and a freshman start), but it also might be the best team I’ve had at Parker,” Tomey said before the contest.
He had no reason to change his mind after the victory."