May 22, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Mission Viejo tops Cajon in double OT 79-72 to capture title at Tustin Classic

Mission Viejo players with the championship trophy after Monday’s win over Cajon. (Photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

The 8th annual Tustin Holiday Classic had quite a finish.

In fact, fans got to see two extra periods. Mission Viejo survived double overtime to win 79-72 over Cajon to capture the title of the 16-team tournament Monday night at Tustin.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

At the end of the first overtime with his team trailing by three points, Griff Higgins sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game 69-69 sending the game into a second overtime. Then in the second overtime Presley Eldridge put the Diablos ahead 72-70 with a three-pointer. Nate Hewitt made two free throws with 20 seconds left to help Mission Viejo (16-2) clinch its second tourney title in two weeks.

Higgins, who had 18 points, was named tournament MVP. Jake Conerty, who had 13 points and 14 rebounds and Hewitt, who had 11 points, were named to the all-tournament team. Eldridge, who also had an outstanding week, had 12 points.

Mission Viejo had a 17-point lead in the second half before Cajon battled to take the lead in the fourth quarter.

“That was disappointing but overcoming some adversity will hopefully go a long way in league play,” said Mission Viejo Coach Troy Roelen. “Tonight, I think it was gritty in double overtime and executing and getting the big shot to send it there and making some free throws down the stretch was good too.”

Cajon was led by Shyheim Parm, who scored 26 points and Riley Robinson, who Cameron Davis-Lewis, who had 20 points. Riley Robinson added 15 points. Parm and Robinson were named to the all-tournament team.

“Griff has been solid for us all week long,” Roelen said.

He was out with shoulder problems early but is back and playing well.

“He missed some games but he’s shooting the ball real well and he’s putting it together,” Roelen said. “Nate shot free throws at the end, he’s usually our closer.”

The Diablos wouldn’t have won the game without the 3-pointer by Higgins to send it into the second OT.

“It all comes from teammates who trusted me there,” said Higgins. “I didn’t make a three before that, but my teammates trusted me enough to make that shot.

“Overtime, we just had to trust each other. We changed our defense a little bit and guarded our man and we made some layups and put it away.”

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