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Gracious hosts . . . until game time

12/24/2013, 4:00pm PST
By John Maffei

Torrey Pines players ready to compete in Under Armour Holiday Classic.


Torrey Pines junior Dominic Hovasse is averaging 10.5 points a game for the Falcons.

Under Armour Holiday Classic

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Thursday schedule

He hosts the event, pouring hundreds of hours into preparation and logistics.

Yet John Olive, coach of the Torrey Pines High boys basketball team ranked No. 3 in San Diego, took a hit for the betterment of the 24th annual Under Armour Holiday Classic.

The five-division, 76-team tournament has schools from 11 states — California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Washington, Arizona, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Alaska and Nevada. Plus, there is one Canadian team.

That is both an attraction and a problem for the four-day tournament that runs from Dec. 26-30 at Torrey Pines, La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad, La Jolla Country Day and Santa Fe Christian.

“Some teams, by rules in their state, can only play three games in a four-game tournament,” Olive said. “So instead of having a schedule with to-be-determined games. I put my team in the loser’s bracket of the National Division.

“That allows The Patrick School from New Jersey, which can only play three games, to jump in on the second day in the winner’s bracket.”

Olive said his players wanted to play in the National Division, so he thought this was a way to assure his team would play three great teams.

The Falcons, who are 10-1 and Kiwanis Tournament champions, open their tournament at 9:30 a.m. Thursday against San Ysidro in a non-bracket game.

Torrey Pines then gets the loser of the Sacramento Sheldon-L.A. Loyola game at 12:40 p.m. on Friday. Sheldon is the defending National Division champion while Loyola is ranked 25th in the nation by USA Today and No. 3 in California by CalHiSports.

“My players questioned my judgment because they think we could compete for the title,” Olive said. “But this solves a scheduling problem and assures we play three great teams.”

The other scheduling problem is Sunday.

State rules prohibit play on Sunday. So the tournament will run, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday.

“I had the option of starting the 27th and finishing the 31st,” Olive said. “But no one wanted to play a final on New Year’s Eve.

“Honestly, taking Sunday off gives the out-of-town teams a chance to have a day off to see some of San Diego, whether it’s SeaWorld, the Zoo or whatever.”

The National Division boasts the best teams, including San Diego’s No. 1-ranked team, St. Augustine. Other National teams are Corona Centennial, Montebello Cantwell Sacred Heart, Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, Chino Hills, L.A. Loyola, Oakland Bishop O’Dowd and Seattle O’Dea, one of the top teams in Washington.

“I had so many teams that wanted to play in the National Division, but I could only accommodate 16,” Olive said. “So that loaded up the American Division.”

The American Division at La Costa Canyon features four of San Diego’s best teams — No. 2 LCC, No. 3 (tied with Torrey Pines) Hoover, No. 6 Mater Dei Catholic and No. 8 Foothills Christian.

Seattle Roosevelt, Kirkland Lake Washington, L.A. Fairfax, Woodland Hills Taft, Long Beach Millikan and Phoenix Desert Vista make the American Division very tough.

“Honestly, I think the American Division will be equally as good as the National,” Olive said. “We’ve got some great teams, great players and some new sites.

“I’m as happy with the teams in this year’s event as I am with any past year.”

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