Chino Hills' Dean Lewis (left) and St. Augustine's Daniel Caya battle for a loose ball in the opening round of the Under Armour Holiday Classic at Torrey Pines High.
Under Armour Holiday Classic: Schedule
St. Augustine boys basketball coach Mike Haupt likes Christmas as much as the next guy.
“I’m just not a big fan of Christmas break,” Haupt said.
Winners of 10 games in a row and champions of the Santa Margarita Tournament, the Saints were given two days off for Christmas by Haupt. And St. Augustine “never got into a rhythm” Thursday, the first game after the break.
The result was a 66-55 loss to Chino Hills in the first round of the National Division of the Under Armour Holiday Classic at Torrey Pines High.
“We had a shoot-around at school before we left for the game, but we just weren’t sharp,” Haupt said. “It was only two days off, but our conditioning wasn’t what it was.”
Trailing 10-7 midway through the first quarter, the Saints (10-1) saw Chino Hills (9-2) go on a 13-0 run to push the margin to 16. St. Augustine cut it to six at 25-19 but was down 11 at the half.
“We got down by 11 and lost by 11,” Haupt said. “We just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Trailing 54-37 late in the third quarter, St. Augustine made a nice run to cut the deficit to 60-52 with 4:55 to play but could get no closer.
San Diego State-bound Trey Kell of St. Augustine led all scorers with 26 points. Plus, he had 13 rebounds and five assists.
“We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be,” Kell said. “They jumped on us early. We clawed our way back, but that first quarter really hurt us.”
The Saints, ranked No. 1 in the San Diego Section, had eight turnovers in the first quarter and finished with 19.
“Still, I’m proud of my guys,” Haupt said. “Chino Hills scored 121 points (in a 121-102 win over Rancho Cucamonga last week), and we held them to 66. So I liked our defensive effort.”
Martin Tombe had 10 rebounds for St. Augustine, but no other Saints player scored in double figures.
Guard Eric Monroe was held to six points, but missed significant minutes with a cut on the bridge of his nose. He had to leave the game in the fourth quarter after shooting one of two free throws when the officials noticed him bleeding.
The Ball bothers — sophomore LiAngelo and freshman Lonzo — led Chino Hills with 18 and 16 points, respectively.
Nnamdi Okongwu had 11 points — four on monster dunks — and 13 rebounds for Chino Hills.
St. Augustine plays Friday at 9:30 a.m. at Torrey Pines.
In the National Division, Westtown (Pa.) edged Newark Memorial 68-61 in triple overtime. Westtown’s Jared Nickens led all scorers with 20 while 7-foot-1 junior teammate Georgios Papagiannis had 17. L.A. Loyola proved to be as good as advertised, beating defending champion Sacramento Sheldon 88-54.
• In the first game of the day at Torrey Pines, the host Falcons beat San Ysidro 73-51 in an out-of-bracket contest. Sophomore Brandon Cyrus led Torrey Pines with 23 points. San Ysidro’s Lynard Steward finished with a game-high 30.
• In the American Division at La Costa Canyon, LCC ripped Gahr 90-68 behind 25 points apiece from Brady Twombly and Shawn Stanik.
• In the Senators Division at La Jolla Country Day, Army-Navy beat John Cooper of Texas 63-56, Francis Parker beat Laguna Beach 55-35 and Serra beat La Mirada 56-47. Caleb Morris led ANA with 22. Andrew Cross led Parker with 20. Jerome Sherman paced Serra with 25.
• In the Governors Division at Carlsbad, Escondido beat Horizon 55-52 and Poway edged Aliso Niguel 57-54. Khy Kabellis led Escondido with 15. Micah Goeglein had 17 for Horizon. Tyler Green led Poway with 21 points.
• In the Mayors Division at Santa Fe Christian, Rancho Christian beat Rancho Buena Vista 73-63 and Santa Fe Christian beat Madison 68-46. Jack Langborg and Danny Finley paced SFC with 22 each. Perry Davis led Madison with 18.