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By any name, Torrey Pines tournament gets top billing

12/18/2012, 10:20pm PST
By John Maffei

Holiday basketball events in full swing today with start of Kiwanis competition.

Maryland's DeMatha Catholic handled Lincoln in last year's opening round of the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic.


Since its inception in 1990, Torrey Pines High’s Holiday Classic has changed names and title sponsors several times.

One thing, however, has remained constant. Since Day 1, the event has been the top boys basketball tournament in San Diego, and one of the best in the nation. It draws the top teams and players from around the country.

Now in its 23rd year, the 72-team tournament tips off Dec. 26 at five high school sites in the county — Torrey Pines (National Division), La Jolla Country Day (American), Rancho Bernardo (Governors), Santa Fe Christian (Senators) and Carlsbad (Mayors).

“We don’t have that one great team like we have had in the past,” said Torrey Pines coach John Olive, who also serves as the tournament’s executive director. “But we have a lot of really good teams and a ton of great players.

“Our (16-team) National Division is loaded with good teams and has a bunch of players who have committed to top-notch college programs.”

Torrey Pines isn’t the only tournament in the county, though.

Action starts today with the 66th annual Kiwanis Holiday Tournament.

Once the jewel of high school events in the county, the Kiwanis has bounced back from some lean times and now boasts an eight-team boys division and a 16-team girls division.

Boys games will be played at Mira Mesa, Mission Bay and Serra highs with the boys and girls title games Saturday at Serra.

The boys field includes Torrey Pines, ranked No. 10 in San Diego, Serra, Mission Bay, Francis Parker, Mira Mesa and Rancho Buena Vista.

“The Kiwanis fits our schedule really well,” Olive said. “I don’t want to travel just before our tournament, so the Kiwanis gives us a great alternative in our backyard.

“It’s the oldest and longest-running tournament in the county. They really cooperate in getting us games in great time slots, and it finishes before Christmas.”

The Torrey Pines event isn’t the only post-Christmas tournament.

The 27th annual Holiday Hoops Classic at Mt. Carmel High tips off Dec. 26 and offers a 16-team alternative to Torrey Pines.

Local teams include The Rock, Oceanside, Otay Ranch, San Pasqual, Del Norte, High Tech, Fallbrook, San Dieguito and host Mt. Carmel.

Cathedral Catholic hosts its second-annual tournament, an eight-team event that starts Dec. 27. Cathedral Catholic, the No. 2-ranked team in San Diego, is the headliner.

The rest of the field includes San Diego Section teams Imperial, Patrick Henry, Olympian, Madison and Mira Mesa.

In addition, the third annual Braves XMAS Classic starts Dec. 26 at El Cajon Valley High, the 30th annual Aztec Holiday Invitational begins Dec. 26 at Montgomery High and the Coronado Holiday Tournament starts Dec. 26 at Coronado High.


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