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Eagles duke it out in Maxwell
George Barajas scored a triple-double in the championship game of the 60th annual Irene Wells Memorial Basketball Tournament and lead the host Panthers to a 45-34 victory Friday against Vacaville Christian in Maxwell.
The last time the Panthers won their home tournament was 2004, but they had little trouble blowing by their opposition this year, winning each game by 11 points or more.
Barajas, a senior guard, had 12 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and six steals in the title game to become the tournament most valuable player. Junior center Zach Troughton averaged more than 10 points and nine rebounds a game and secured all-tournament honors.
Faith Christian beat Pierce 64-54 in the third-place game despite another big game from senior forward Andy Corona, who averaged 18 points during the tournament and earned all-tournament honors.
Colusa bounced back from an opening-round loss to Vacaville Christian and won the next two games, including a 48-26 victory in the consolation game against Williams. All-tournament selection R.J. Phillips scored a game-high 13 points against the Yellowjackets. Williams senior Eduardo Velazquez made the all-tournament team after averaging more than eight points a game.
Los Molinos pulled away from Princeton in the fourth quarter for a 54-46 victory in the seventh-place game. All-tournament guards A.J. Long and Oscar Espinoza dueled all game. Long scored 15 points for the Bulldogs and Espinoza scored a game-high 16 points for the Eagles.
Maxwell 45, Vacaville Christian 34
Maxwell (4-2) wasted little time taking control of the championship game against the Falcons and never let the lead dip below five points after the first quarter.
Barajas was the catalyst for the Panthers' potent transition game. The speedy senior kept the Falcons back-pedaling all game long.
"We just played man and we tried to bug them as much as we could and it worked," Barajas said.
The Bears struggled last week in the Pierce tournament, but Barajas attributed their slow start in Arbuckle to the lack of practices and the players being down emotionally after the football team's playoff loss to Portola.
"We just practiced with each other, got to know each other and now it's going great. It's pretty amazing, we haven't won (our home tournament) in a long time so it feels pretty good," Barajas said.
Sophomore guard Isaias Martinez scored seven points in the first quarter and finished with 11 points for the Panthers. Troughton added eight points, including a 3-pointer, and 12 rebounds.
"Personally I think we're in way better shape, we're working a lot harder than we did in the Arbuckle tournament. We just play hard defense, we play right in their face," Troughton said.
Faith Christian 64, Pierce 54
The Bears (3-4) fell to defending tournament champion Faith Christian 64-54 on Saturday in the third-place game despite 21 points from Oscar Dorantes.
Faith Christian broke open a three-point game in the fourth quarter, outscoring Pierce 24-17.
Dorantes scored 12 of his 21 points in the second half, and all-tournament forward Andy Corona scored 14 points, eight in the second half. Senior guard Hayden Kalfsbeek made three 3-point shots and finished with 10 points, and Jesus Huerta added seven points for the Bears.
Micah Atkins led the Lions with 16 points, Justin Glenn added 15 points and Drew LeBlanc chipped in 13.
Colusa 48, Williams 26
After Williams opened a 7-2 lead on Colusa early in the first quarter, the RedHawks took control with an 18-point run that lasted well into the second quarter.
Junior R.J. Phillips scored a game-high 13 points and sophomore Destin Smith added nine points for Colusa.
"Destin and R.J. are super athletic guys who are probably two of the three most athletic guys I've coached here," Colusa coach Marty Remmers said.
Their inexperience sometimes leads to over-aggressiveness, but as the game becomes more instinctual for them, Phillips and Smith will be a dangerous duo to content with, according to Remmers.
The Yellowjackets went on a 9-2 run in the second quarter but Phillips and Hayden Bailey scored the final five points of the half for a comfortable 12-point RedHawks lead.
Phillips and Smith scored 11 of the RedHawks' 12 points and Williams managed just one point in the third quarter. Bailey finished with nine points, Favian Grageda scored seven points and Eric Barrera added five.
Ismael Larios scored all of his six points in the fourth quarter and Sal Garcia led the Yellowjackets with 11 points.
The early season results for Williams (5-3) are promising. All-tournament forward Eduardo Velazquez gives the Yellowjackets height and a good shooting touch inside along with forward J.J. Davalos. Garcia and Larios are scoring threats from the outside as is junior Ricardo Rico.
"I'm looking for that point guard to be a distributor of the ball and make better passes, because (Garcia) can shoot, I know he can score 20 points a game but I want him to be more of a distributor," Williams coach Cesar Meza said.
Los Molinos 54, Princeton 46
The outlook was grim for Los Molinos early in the fourth quarter.
A 12-point first-half lead dwindled away, starting guard Eric Haley fouled out and Princeton took the lead when Gavino Mitchum and Ramiro Castellon slammed into each other under the hoop.
"I thought we would actually have a chance. (Haley) fouled out and he was a good player for them and then when (Castellon) got hurt, he was killing us," Princeton coach Travis Bennett said.
Castellon, who scored seven points and grabbed plenty of rebounds, left the game after the collision but the Bulldogs rallied despite two starters on the bench.
Jesse Dodero immediately tied the game at 39-39 and all-tournament guard A.J. Long converted on a three-point play and Los Molinos maintained the lead the rest of the way.
Long finished with 15 points and Jesus Castillo added 12 points for Los Molinos. Jordan Gumm scored seven points and was a force under the basket, Haley scored six points and Dodero finished with five points.
"Gumm had a lot of rebounds this game, I think more than 10. He controlled the boards the best he could and (so did Castellon) until he got hit in the gut," Bulldogs coach Christian Cumpston said.
The 54 points was the second-highest point total for the Bulldogs (3-4) this year.
"Our offense is a little stagnant, we're not catching on to our offense very quickly this year. Defense is probably going to have to carry us," Cumpston said.
The Eagles struggled with Los Molinos' post players all game, something Bennett knows Princeton will struggle with this year, he said.
"Guard play is fine but we have no bulk, no height, so we have to run. To run we need to rebound — that's kind of what it's about," Bennett said.
All-tournament guard Oscar Espinoza scored 16 points, and Lucas Hubbard made four 3-pointers and scored 16 points. Gavino Mitchum scored nine points, and Rod Angus scored six and was the lone consistent rebounder for the Eagles.
Princeton is without its best returning player, senior forward Fernando Sotelo, but Bennett expects him back soon.
Maxwell 72, Princeton 35
Faith Christian 67, Williams 36
Pierce 64, Los Molinos 34
Vacaville Christian 39, Colusa 36
Maxwell 70, Faith Christian 56
Vacaville Christian 52, Pierce 45
Colusa 60, Los Molinos 39
Williams 66, Princeton 45
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.