June 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Dana Hills finishes strong against Newport Harbor to capture Santa Ana Tourney title

Dana Hills players and coaches get together after winning the Santa Ana Varsity Tournament Saturday night. (Photo: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone).

Dana Hills boys basketball team led from the opening quarter and broke the game open in the fourth quarter to defeat Newport Harbor 50-32 in the championship of the Santa Ana Varsity Tournament Saturday night at Santa Ana.

The Dolphins (4-0) led 37-28 after three quarters and outscored the Sailors 13-4 in the final stanza to claim the title. Dana Hills lost to San Juan Hills in last year’s Santa Ana Tournament final.

Collin Haugh and Nikolis Grguric each scored 19 points to lead Dana Hills. Haugh was named MVP and Grguric was named to the all-tourney team. Jack Berry, who was also named to the all-tournament team, led Newport Harbor (3-1) with 12 points. Dash Bastedo added 10 points and 14 rebounds.

“Any time you get in these tournaments, you hope to get to the finals and win it,,” said Dana Hills Coach Tom Desiano. “That was our goal going into it. It was a very competitive tournament, we had some really hard fought games and played some very good, well coached teams. It was a good test to open the season for us for sure and we’re fortunate enough to win tonight.”

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Desiano was pleased with the production of Haugh and Grguric.

“We have multiple guys who can get us points,” he said. “That’s what makes us tough to defend because any night there could be a different guy getting 10, 15, 20 points. Tonight, Nikolis stepped up up big time and he’s very capable of doing that and Collin does what he does. I thought we played pretty good defensively today, we also offensively shared the basketball better than we have all tournament.”

Dana Hills led by six at halftime and Newport Harbor wasn’t able to get much going offensively in the third quarter.

“Tough one, a very good team, very well balanced, very well coached and did a great job of executing their stuff and keeping us kind of off-guard a little bit,” said Newport Harbor Coach Robert Torribio.

“We didn’t make enough shots obviously tonight, you’re not going to win a lot of varsity basketball games scoring in the thirties, we thought we defended pretty well to keep them in the fifties so I thought we did a great job defensively tonight but at the end of the day, you got to make shots, especially against a good team like Dana Hills, and we didn’t make enough shots tonight,”:

Haugh, who had a big scoring week for Dana Hills, finished strong with 17 of his points in the second half and wound up with five 3-pointers, all in the second half.

“It was a good team win,” the junior guard said. “All of our guys played a big role. I was looking for our guys early, I couldn’t find my shot, later I got it going and our team needed that and we won, that was big.”

Haugh said he hopes his team can keep rolling.

“We definitely want to win league first of all and then we want to try to make a deep CIF run,” he said.

The 16-team tournament wrapped up with a full schedule of games Saturday and featured a tough field put together by Santa Ana coach Zach Johnson.

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—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com