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Falcons, Grizzlies accomplish their holiday mission

12/29/2012, 9:18pm PST
By John Maffei

Torrey Pines, Mission Hills win division titles in Holiday Classic.

Torrey Pines’ Dominic Hovasse (center) tries to pass as he’s pressured by Sierra Canyon’s Jamani Spencer (right) and Devearl Ramsey.

Coming into the holiday tournament season, the Torrey Pines High boys basketball team had a pair of victories. Mission Hills had three.

Now both teams have two straight tournament titles after posting impressive wins Saturday in the 23rd annual Under Armour Torrey Pines Holiday Classic.

Torrey Pines used runs of 12-2 and 13-2 to open a big lead and cruise by Chatsworth Sierra Canyon 56-37 to capture the Mayor’s Division crown.

The Falcons (9-4), ranked No. 10 in the San Diego Section, won the 66th annual Kiwanis Tournament title just before Christmas.

Mission Hills rallied from eight points down 10 seconds into the fourth quarter Saturday and downed Mesa (Ariz.) 60-53 to take the Holiday Classic’s American Division championship.

Before Christmas, the Grizzlies (12-1), ranked No. 6 in the region, won the Mission Prep Classic in San Luis Obispo.

“We weren’t playing as a team. We were really struggling early,” said Torrey Pines’ Sam Worman, the MVP of the Mayor’s Division. “We started to focus more as we started playing more games. We’ve really grown a lot since early in the season, and we can get better.”

Torrey Pines coach John Olive said his team’s early-season 2-3 start was “a train wreck.”

“But we identified our problems, worked on them, and you’re starting to see the results,” he said. “Honestly, I can’t remember winning back-to-back tournament championships in my 16 years here.”

Worman led the Falcons with 20 points and eight rebounds. Dominic Hovasse finished with 17 points.

Connor Milmoe of Torrey Pines was named to the all-tournament team, scoring seven points with six rebounds and two blocked shots in the title game.

Kibret Woldemichel of Mission Hills was the MVP of the American Division after scoring a game-high 24 points in the final. He had 19 in the semis.

The Grizzlies’ Kameron Rooks, who finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds against Sierra Canyon, was named to the all-tournament team.

Mission Hills has won nine games in a row with its only loss coming in overtime to St. Augustine.

The Grizzlies got seven points each from Woldemichel, Rooks and Cody Hicks in the fourth quarter as they rallied from a 46-38 deficit.

“The second half we started to get Kameron more involved in the offense,” Mission Hills coach Curtis Hofmeister said of his 7-foot center. “We started moving, grinding. And the defense was moving better. Just like Friday, we started making plays when we needed to.

“Winning any tournament is big, but winning in a division of this caliber means you had to beat four quality opponents.”

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