San Joaquin Memorial was able to use the 18th annual Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic as an avenue to avenge not one but two early-season defeats.
The capper came Saturday night, when the Panthers (10-4) beat Modesto Christian 73-64 in the championship game, with touted sophomore guard Jalen Green’s 26 points and 15 rebounds locking up tournament MVP honors.
“We knew it would be a dogfight, even when playing Beyer in the first game,” Panthers coach Brad Roznovsky told The Modesto Bee. “We’re a little smaller, but we got some kids that have some heart.”
It was Memorial’s first Holiday Hoop Classic title after coming up short in two previous visits.
Green was coming off a 46-point night in a 71-66 semifinal victory over Clovis West on Friday, with the Golden Eagles becoming the first team to run into a different Memorial team than one they previously beat.
Two weeks ago, Clovis West topped the Panthers 79-73 in a semifinal of the Golden Eagles’ Nike Invitational. And it took a frantic rally to make it that close; Memorial was down 61-43 entering the fourth quarter.
Memorial then closed its Nike Invite run with an 89-72 loss to Modesto Christian, despite Green’s season-high 47 points.
This time, he had a little more help, though it was a follow of his own miss that put the Panthers in the lead for good 46-45 late in the third quarter.
As usual, Green put on an aerial show throughout, including a massive first-quarter throwdown when splitting a double team.
Jonah Geron, a University of Washington recruit, scored all 13 of his points in the second half. He hit one 3-pointer to make it 60-52 with 4:04 left, then another with 1:34 remaining to make it 67-60.
Lunden Taylor joined Green on the all-tournament team for the Panthers, scoring 24 points to go with eight rebounds.
Now, after those two losses at the Clovis West tournament started a four-game skid, Memorial has won six straight.
“We had back-to-back losses and we were trying to find ourselves,” Roznovsky said. “It was in their heads a couple of weeks ago, but they came up big here. I’m very proud of the guys.”
Modesto Christian (9-2) was hurt by the loss of 6-foot-8 forward Tsotne Tsardsidse after he turned an ankle early in the first quarter.
“That killed us, especially in matchups like this when they don’t really have a big man,” Modesto Christian coach Brice Fantazia said. “He’s one of our most versatile defenders.”
Clovis West beat Tracy 80-56 in the third-place game, with freshman Cole Anderson scoring 25 in earning an all-tournament nod.
Sanger girls win at Old Town Clovis
Anelise Lopez scored 21 points and Stephanie Herring 16 as Sanger defeated Kerman 59-55 in the championship of the Old Town Clovis Kiwanis New Year’s Eve Classic at Buchanan High.
Sanger improved to 7-6. Breanna Hurt led the Lions (9-4) with 21 points, while Morgan Turner scored 19.
Sanger boys fall in Clovis Elks final
Sanger hoped to add another 2017-18 tournament title to its trophy case.
Dublin (11-3) put a stop to that as Robby Beasley scored a game-high 28 points in a 76-68 victory over the Apaches for the championship of the Clovis Elks Tournament.
The Gaels jumped out to a 24-15 first-quarter lead and never looked back.
Sanger (13-3) was led by Isaiah Cuevas’ 15 points. The Apaches won the Holiday Invitational Tournament at Hoover two weeks ago.
▪ Clovis North’s girls, ranked No. 7 in the state by Maxpreps, beat Bullard 64-18 in a nonleague game Saturday. The Broncos (15-2) won the Rocklin Tournament; their only losses are to national power King-Milwaukee 59-51 in the Central Valley Showdown at Clovis West and 60-55 to state No. 1 Harvard-Westlake in the Los Angeles school’s tournament final.
▪ Clovis fell short against a future section rival, losing 58-50 to host Righetti in the championship of the Harold Olivera Girls Basketball Tournament.
Taylor Correa scored 13 points to lead Clovis (11-6).
Ashley Reynoso’s 12 points led Righetti (9-1), one of 13 coastal school set to move into the Central Section starting in the 2018-19 school year.
“It was an exciting game,” Clovis coach Greg Clark told the Santa Maria Times. “We knew coming in that Righetti had a good team. We want to play against that type of team. We knew we’d have trouble with their height but the bottom line is we didn’t make plays when we needed to and Righetti did. They are a talented and well coached team.”
▪ Bullard’s boys beat Ponderosa-Shingle Springs 81-42 for the consolation championship of The St. Hope Elite Classic in Sacramento. Andrew Parker was an all-tournament selection for the Knights (11-4).
▪ Roosevelt’s Emontay Moultrie was named Defensive MVP and freshman Qiant Myers joined him on the all-tournament team as the Rough Riders beat Mariposa County 71-69 on Friday to win the Mendota Holiday Classic. Roosevelt improved to 9-2.
Coaches, report scores, stats and highlights to The Bee at firstname.lastname@example.org.