Eagles win Hustlin' Hawk Classic, defeat Minarets for championship
After an intense win over Liberty-Madera the day before, the Eagles defeated Minarets for the championship of the 6th annual Hustlin' Hawk Classic, 79-42, Dec. 17. Senior Brady Lee, left, had 14 points against the Mustangs and an All-Tournament selection while senior Ryan Neufeld, right, added 13 points in the final game.
BOYS' BASKETBALL SPORTS SHORTS, 2011-12
(Scrimmages do not count toward win/loss record. Visit the Sports Section for boys' basketball features.) For a simple overview of scores and upcoming games, check the Winter sport box scores, 2011-12 for dates, opponents and times for all Eagle sports.
Be sure to visit the 2011-12 boys' basketball schedule, home page, roster page, or check out Maxpreps.com. The Eagles are currently 6-1 overall and 0-0 in the West Sequoia League as of Dec. 17. The Eagles will continue the 2011-12 season with a game against the Riverdale Cowboys at 7 p.m. in the Laton Mustangs Holiday Invitational, Dec. 28.
BOYS' BASKETBALL, 2011-12
6th ANNUAL HUSTLIN' HAWK CLASSIC TOURNAMENT Dec. 15-17
EAGLES TAKE HOME FIRST PLACE IN HAWK CLASSIC
FC finished undefeated in the 6th annual Hustlin' Hawk Classic tournament with a 79-42 win over Minarets, Dec. 17. Senior Cooper Belmont was named the MVP while seniors Chandler Vargas and Brady Lee received All-Tournament honors.
According to head coach Josh Justin, this was the first tournament that a Fresno Christian boys' basketball team has won in over five years. He shares his thoughts on how his team performed.
-We came out and played hard from the very beginning,-- Justin said. -We played as a team and the win sealed the tournament for us. We were successful because of our team work and hard work."
With an explosive start, FC roared to an opening, 23-8, lead. They would eventually outscore the Mustangs in each quarter of the game. Going into the game the Eagles knew that they couldn't take Minarets lightly. They understood that just because they had beaten the two previous teams did not mean they could slack off in their intensity.
The Eagles pushed the ball up the court every chance they got. Their fast play garnered them easy points in transition, however, they turned the ball over on multiple occasions. Despite their mistakes, FC led 45-16 going into halftime.
Due to their 29 point lead, the Eagles began slowing down the tempo in the third quarter. Rather than getting out and running the Eagles worked on their offense by passing the ball around. At the end of the third, FC was up 61-25.
With MVP senior Cooper Belmont, center, leading the way, FC won the Liberty tournament by defeating Minarets with all Eagles getting on the score sheet. Freshman Lance Henderson, right, scored 10 points, collected 4 rebounds and had 2 blocked shots in a supporting role.
All Eagles earned points on the score sheet as coach Justin freely used his bench in the second half, resting his starters and giving much needed game time experience to the team. Freshman Lance Henderson stood out by scoring ten points. Behind the leadership of Belmont's 18 points and everyone cheering on the bench, the team effort secured the victory.
Although Belmont scored a combined total of 65 points in just three games, he was truly surprised when he found out that he was the tournament MVP.
-I wasn't really thinking about MVP it just came out of nowhere,-- Belmont said. -It's kind of just happened and it's surprising.--
The Eagles are currently on a five-game winning streak. Belmont shares how winning first place in the Hawk Classic will help propel his team into the season.
-I think winning helps to motivate us to keep up the intensity throughout others games,-- Belmont said. -Coming out and winning a tournament right off the bat really helps to set the tone.--
The Eagles will next travel to play against the Riverdale Cowboys at 7:00 p.m. in the Laton Mustangs Holiday Invitational, Dec. 28.
EAGLES EXECUTE, DEFEAT LIBERTY--Dec. 16
Having beaten Liberty earlier in the season, FC knew that the Hawks were hungry for a victory. The Eagles not only played sound defense but they executed on the offensive end. In the end they came out triumphant, 68-52, Dec. 16.
Seniors Cooper Belmont and Chandler Vargas hit their shots from the start of the game, scoring a combined total of 22 points in the first quarter. Liberty fed the ball to their big men and made shots underneath the hoop. At the end of the first the Eagles were up, 26-17.
Because of their lead, FC had confidence and momentum going into the second quarter. Belmont hit two more 3's to push the lead. FC was able to get out and score buckets in transition. Liberty's Anthony Garcia found openings in the Eagles defense and hit mid-range shots. Despite the Hawks efforts, FC was ahead, 41-26, going into halftime.
The third quarter proved to be the deciding factor for the Eagles. It was in this quarter that FC executed a full court press and forced multiple turnovers. Due to the Eagles pressure, the Hawks only scored 11 points to FC's 20. This proved to seal the game for the Eagles. Going into the last quarter, the Eagles led, 61-37, and a command of the game.
Belmont made the Fresno Bee Boys Basketball Highlights for scoring a season high of 29 points. He says Coach Josh (Justin) kept telling him to shoot.
-Before the game I was on so I was kind of feeling it,-- Bemlont said. -Coach just said keep shooting it so I didn't stop. They were just falling for me.--
Liberty's big man, Stetson Woods, led the Hawks with 17 points. Woods also played solid defense, securing 12 rebounds and blocking 10 shots. Though it was hard for FC to make shots in the key, they converted from the three point line.
Head coach Justin was able to give some of his starters a rest in the fourth quarter. Freshman Lance Henderson came of the bench and scored 4 points while junior Brandon McCormick also had 4. As the quarter progresses, FC began working time off the shot clock in order to close the game out.
Belmont believes this game held significant weight for the Eagles.
This was the first game that we really showed what we are capable of so it felt really good to win,-- Belmont said. -It was kind of like the biggest game of the year so far.--
Head coach Josh Justin believes his team played the best he has seen them ever play. He shares his thoughts on the game.
-Last night's game against Liberty was a great game for us. It was one of the best games that I have ever seen a Fresno Christian team play. We played amazing in all facets of the game. We played great defense and on offense we attacked the basket and shot the ball well. I was extremely proud of how hard our team played the entire night.--
Justin looks ahead to what it takes to bring home the first place prize.
"In order to win the tournament we must continue to play great defense," Justin said. "If we continue to attack the basket on offense and play aggressive defense I am confident that we will win this tournament."
Vargas finished the game with 19 points while senior Brady Lee added 8 to round out the Eagles' top three.
FC will next face the Minarets Mustangs on Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m.
FC WINS NECK AND NECK BATTLE--Dec. 15
It was the battle of the Eagles as FC took on the Firebaugh Eagles to open the 6th annual Hawk Classic tournament. The score went back and forth the entire game but FC's defense and hard work garnered them a 47-42 victory, Dec. 15
The Eagles came out fast, scoring a lay-up within ten seconds into the game. Firebaugh responded by making a shots under the basket. FC looked to pick apart Firebaugh's defense by attacking the lane. At the end of the first, FC led 9-6.
The Eagles played a variety of defenses against their opponent. Firebaugh outsized the Eagles in the low post. Firebaugh's height assisted them in in getting many offensive rebounds.
The Eagles executed poorly in the first half, missing multiple lay-ups and three pointers. However, FC made up for it by their hustle and strong defensive play. Going into halftime the score was tied 23 all.
Senior Ryan Neufeld led his team on defense with 13 rebounds and three steals. He shares his thoughts on the game.
"I felt that our effort really kept us in the game," Neufeld said. "We kept playing hard on defense even though our shots weren't falling."
Going into the third quarter the Eagles viewed the score as 0-0. They had two fresh new quarters ahead of them. They made some steals and capitalized on Firebaugh's turnovers. Firebaugh responded by breaking FC's press and scoring lay-ups in transition. Both teams scored 13 points in the third quarter.
Senior Cooper Belmont was the game's high scorer with 18 points. Senior Wyatt McBee led Firebaugh with 11 points.
The pressure was on going into the fourth quarter. With the score tied 36 all, both teams were hoping to get a lead. The score went back and forth between the two teams. Senior Chandler Vargas hit a clutch three down the stretch to put the Eagles ahead by 2. Brady Lee, '12, banked a shot off the backboard to put FC up by four.
Firebaugh scrambled to make shots but they couldn't execute. They resorted to fouling with a minute left in the game. FC played it safe and closed out the game, 47-42.
Neufeld believes this victory will help them in the future.
"It feels really good to win those close games," Neufeld said. "The close games will really pay off at the end of the year because we will know what it takes to win them.
The Eagles will next travel back to Madera Ranchos to face the Libery Hawks at 7:00 p.m. Dec. 16.
For more information on the Eagles season check out the Boys' basketball sport shorts: Immanuel Tournament (Day Four).