May 28, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Newport Harbor defeats Palm Desert to capture title at Century Elks Holiday Classic

Newport Harbor players celebrate after capturing the title Thursday night. (Photos: Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone).

Newport Harbor’s boys basketball team used outstanding shooting and an aggressive defense to defeat Palm Desert 67-54 and capture the championship game of the Elks Holiday Classic at Century High School Thursday night.

Sailors senior forward Jake Read led all scorers with 24 points. Newport Harbor (13-5) won all four games in the tournament and extended its winning streak to five games, winning eight of the last nine. The Aztecs dropped to 11-7.

“Our defense played really well and we just didn’t let them score that much,” said Read. “Winning this tournament gets us ready for league play and gives us confidence going forward against some very tough opponents.”

To see additional photos, click on the first picture:

Heavy rains throughout Southern California caused a leak in the Century gymnasium roof that leaked onto to the main court, causing all three games on Thursday to be played on the side court.

“We try not to let anything bother us and playing on the side court didn’t bother us,” said Sailors Coach Robert Torribio. “We’ve been working hard in practice and it’s showing on the court. We shot really well tonight and that makes us coaches look smart. We feel if we get to 60 points, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”

Brandon Kincaid scored 14 points but had to leave the game with three minutes remaining in the third quarter after twisting his right ankle. Kincaid remained on the floor for a few minutes before he was helped to the sideline by his teammates and coach. He did not return. 

“I landed on the defender’s shoe and twisted my ankle; it’s the second time I’ve done that this season,” said Kincaid, who was named MVP of the tournament, and who along, with Read and Adam Gaa was also named to the all-tournament team.

The Sailors led 17-13 after the first period. Then, Kincaid, Read and Guy ignited Newport Harbor on a 21-9 run in the second quarter to help the Sailors build a 38-22 halftime lead.

The Aztecs cut the lead to nine points late in the third quarter but Read converted four free throws in the final minute to build Newport Harbor’s lead back to 52-41 after three quarters.

Palm Desert was able to trim the lead to 52-43 early in the final quarter but Guy sunk two 3s and a bucket as the Sailors built the lead to 63-47 with 3:21 to play and cruised to a comfortable win. Newport Harbor drilled 10 3-pointers in the game and forced 12 turnovers. Guy finished with 13 points. 

“The key to the win was us making shots and playing strong defense that lead to easy baskets for us,” said Gaa, who scored 10 points. “We’re confident and we have momentum and a spark going into league play.”

The Sailors also defeated Segerstrom, Century and California.

In the third-place game on Thursday, Garrett Brookman scored 28 points to lead Brea Olinda to a 73-63 win over California. Brookman was named to the all-tournament team.

In the fifth-place game, Northwood defeated Segerstrom 55-30. 

—Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone