Senior leadership, players who have been through a rugged football season and 31 basketball games, made the difference Friday.
Led by Markel Byrd, who is headed to Eastern Washington on a football scholarship, and Darren Carrington, who will play football next season at Oregon, Horizon answered every challenge and held off a young Foothills Christian team 53-37 to win the San Diego Section Division V title at Viejas Arena.
This was the 15th section championship for top-seeded Horizon (18-13).
“We have some really athletic kids, football kids,” said Horizon coach Tyrone Hopkins. “We fought hard.”
Byrd finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and one thunderous dunk.
Carrington had five points and seven rebounds. Cody Underwood led the Panthers with 15 points.
Jerome Sherman paced Foothills (19-14) with nine points. T.J. Leaf had eight points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. Both are freshmen.
“You don’t always get the prize on your first try,” said Foothills coach Brad Leaf.