DeAnza 72, West 68
For the second year in a row, the DeAnza Dons of El Sobrante won the West Winter Classic. The Dons beat the West Wolf Pack 72-68 in the championship game of the tournament, now in its 30th year.
The Wolf Pack and the Dons played a close game the entire way. Both teams brought a quick and aggressive pace to the court. Players fought for control of the inside, with DeAnza getting most of the rebounds. Though the Dons held the lead most of the way, West scrambled to break through DeAnza’s press and kept the game close.
It was a rematch of last year’s Winter Classic championship.
“They were aggressive last year, so we wanted to come in more aggressive, with a hard defense,” said West senior guard John Paul Pataugue. “We wanted that game bad, so we were hustling. We’ve got to work as a team more, move the ball more.”
Senior Elias Woodward knew that rebounding and inside shots would lead to battles under the net.
“We expected a great amount of intensity because they’re a very physical team and they’re known for their defense. We just had to play through it and be very physical,” he said. “We had to make 3’s because we knew it would be hard to score inside. Playing against this team with their defense, man-to-man and their zone, we would drive and kick the corner, but it didn’t fall our way tonight.”
The two teams traded the lead six times in the first quarter and were tied 16-16 going into the second. They traded the lead four more times in the second quarter, with DeAnza pulling ahead 41-36 at the half. West would not be able to retake the lead after that, though the Pack outscored the Dons in the fourth quarter, with Woodward scoring 12 of his team-high 19 points. West got within 3 points in the final seconds before a foul allowed DeAnza to go up 72-68 on a free throw.
Senior David Neal Hickman added 16 points for the Pack and had seven rebounds. Hickman, Woodward and Pataugue were all named all-tournament.
DeAnza sophomore Broyce Batchan Jr. scored a game-high 29 points, and senior Jadin Skinner collected 14 rebounds.
It was the last game of the year for West. The Wolf Pack will begin Tri-City Athletic League play the second week of January.
“We’re learning how we need to play in league and what to expect in league,” Woodward said. “There’s a lot of teams tougher than this, but this is just a start. We’re getting ready for league so we’re ready to make playoffs this year.”
Lathrop 77, Kimball 75
The Kimball Jaguars made a big comeback in the third-place game of the West Winter Classic only to see Lathrop take the game back at the end to win it 77-75.
The teams played an even matchup through most of the first quarter, but as much as the Jaguars attacked the basket, few of their shots fell. Toward the end of the first quarter, the Lathrop Spartans launched a 22-2 scoring run. While the Jaguars could still break the Spartan press, the Lathrop team was quick to get into position on defense to deny the Jaguars their scoring opportunities, turning the Spartans’ 11-10 lead into a 33-12 lead early in the second quarter.
The Jaguars got back into the game thanks to shots from senior Tyree Richardson, who scored 9 points in the second quarter and 20 points for the game. The Jaguars cut the Spartans’ lead to 39-34 at at the half and continued to close that gap in the third quarter, with Lathrop ahead by just 2 points, 55-53, going into the fourth quarter.
Kimball senior John Harris hit a series of shots to start off the fourth and put the Jaguars in the lead. Lathrop matched the Jaguars’ pace and tied it up 67-67. Kimball junior Ethan Zuniga took a pass from Harris from across the court and sank a 3-point shot to put Kimball up 70-67.
“We wanted to keep our poise, and also keep up our aggression on the boards and defensively. We know we can get our shots up,” Harris said, adding that once they were behind, he and his teammates could see what they had to do to catch up.
“They were leaking out with those fast breaks, so we knew before the game and during the first half we had to get back on defense and focus.”
But a missed Kimball slam dunk attempt abruptly shifted the momentum to Lathrop’s favor. Two shots from the floor put the Spartans back in the lead, and then Kimball was plagued by fouls, including two technical fouls, causing two players to foul out and allowing Lathrop to take a 77-70 lead one free throw at a time.
The Jaguars got in a couple more shots before the clock ran out to cut Lathrop’s lead to 77-75.
Harris, the Jaguars’ all-tournament selection, scored a game-high 30 points, including 12 points in the fourth quarter, and he had 12 rebounds. Senior John Sarmiento scored 9 points and had eight rebounds.
East Union 61, Millennium 38
The East Union Lancers started hitting their outside shots in the second quarter to take a 26-15 halftime lead over the Millennium Falcons on Saturday in their final game of the West Winter Classic.
The Lancers continued to pour in shots from outside of the arc in the second and hit 10 3-pointers for the night to get the 61-38 win.
Leading scorers for the Falcons included senior Isaac Dewitt and sophomore Omari Arauz-Doucet with 9 points each.
Franklin 53, Millennium 37
The Franklin Yellowjackets opened with a 16-8 first-quarter lead over Millennium on Friday at the West Winter Classic. Franklin continued to extend its lead in the second and third quarters on the way to the 53-37 win.
Dewitt led the Millennium offense with 12 points and sophomore Krish Bajwa added 9 points.