Foothill guard Austin Starr doesn’t need a lot of room to get his shot off. So when the senior got a little bit of space Thursday, he made Desert Pines pay.
Starr was 4-for-4 on 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 25 points to lead the Falcons to a 63-53 victory in the Foothill Holiday Classic’s Gold Division.
“He’s got a quick trigger,” Foothill coach Kevin Soares said.
Desert Pines led 26-25 at halftime, but Starr hit four 3-pointers in less than four minutes to help Foothill (9-3) stretch its lead to 45-33 with 8:36 to play.
“We buckled down on defense, but on offense we executed,” Soares said of the second-half surge. “We had a guy get hot. Austin got hot, and we found him.”
Soares said the coaches made sure Starr’s teammates knew to find the hot shooter. He was 6-for-8 on 3-pointers.
“We make them conscious of it,” Soares said. “Sometimes teams go away from a guy who’s hot, but we want to make sure our guy who’s hot keeps getting the ball.”
Desert Pines got within six twice down the stretch, each time after baskets by Nate Grimes, who scored eight of his 14 points in the second half.
But Starr shot 5 of 6 from the foul line in the final 1:10 for Foothill.
Soares said his team did a good job of making Desert Pines a jump-shooting team. The Jaguars were 4-for-17 on 3s.
“A team like Desert Pines, with all their quickness and athleticism, they kill you by getting to the basket,” Soares said. “We stressed help-side defense and kind of sagged off and forced them to shoot from the outside. They hit a couple, but it wasn’t anything that really hurt us. I think the game plan worked.”
Jalen Shepard had 11 points and five assists, and Torrance Littles had 10 points and four blocked shots for Foothill, which got 10 points off the bench by Vincent Modugno.
“That was good for us,” Soares said. “We’ve been looking forward to that matchup.”
Grimes had eight rebounds for Desert Pines (4-3).
Foothill 62, Silverado 43 — At Foothill, David Persi hit four 3-pointers and scored 14 points to help the Falcons knock off the Skyhawks earlier Thursday.
Ian Ellis had 10 points for Faith Lutheran.
Joe Baldi led Silverado with 22 points, and teammate Isaiah Glover scored 13.
Las Vegas 67, Liberty 57 — At Foothill, Re’Kwon Smith had 28 points and nine rebounds as the Wildcats knocked off the Patriots to move into the Gold Division semifinals.
Tyler Bey added 10 points for Las Vegas.
Elijah Graves paced Liberty with 15 points and six rebounds. Darion Acohido added 11 points, and Noah Jefferson scored 10 for the Patriots.
Las Vegas 75, NFL Yet Academy (Ariz.) 55 — At Foothill, Smith had 36 points and six rebounds to lead the Wildcats.
Smith hit three 3-pointers for Las Vegas, which was 7-for-21 on 3-point attempts.
Saikou Goudelye led NFL Yet with 18 points.
Desert Pines 71, Valley 67 — At Foothill, Grimes had 23 points as the Jaguars edged the Vikings.
Coby Myles added 15 points for Desert Pines.
Spencer Mathis had 25 points for Valley, and teammate Cameron Burton scored 18.
Liberty 52, Faith Lutheran 41 — At Foothill, Graves had 17 points to lead the Patriots over the Crusaders.
Tyler Mahan, Clayton Holthaus and Blake Bell each scored nine points for Faith Lutheran.
Faith Baptist Christian Academy (Ga.) 74, Canyon Springs 71 — At Foothill, Conner Stuart’s basket with 23 seconds to play gave the Crusaders the win over the Pioneers to move into the semifinals.
Canyon Springs led 71-70 after Jordan Davis’ transition basket with 44.1 seconds. Davis was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw. Stuart took a pass from Rashaan Benson and scored to give Faith Baptist the lead.
Tray Leatherwood led the Crusaders with 26 points, including 19 in the second half.
Shaquile Carr had 24 points, six rebounds and six assists to pace the Pioneers. Davis scored 12 points, Darrell McCall had 11 points and seven rebounds, and Gerad Davis had 10 points, nine rebounds and three steals for Canyon Springs.
The Pioneers were dismal from the perimeter, making just 1 of 21 3-pointers.
Canyon Springs 70, Basic 58 — At Foothill, Jordan Davis had 15 points as the Pioneers beat the Wolves.
Carr added 13 points, and Gerad Davis scored 12 for Canyon Springs.
Shelldan Slayton led Basic with 15 points. Jaimon Williams scored 12 for the Wolves, who got 11 points from Chandler Kamai.
Army-Navy (Calif.) 61, Palo Verde 43 — At Foothill, Army-Navy went on a 19-0 run in the first half to down the Panthers and advance to the Gold semifinals.
Caleb Morris had 21 points and nine rebounds to lead Army-Navy.
Connor Lemmon scored eight to pace Palo Verde.
Palo Verde 69, Green Valley 50 — At Foothill, Braxton Richard had 14 points, and the Panthers knocked off the Gators.
Chase Ruiz added 12 points, Ja Morgan had 11 points and Connor Lemmon scored 10 for Palo Verde.
Troy Cropper led Green Valley with 16 points.
Faith Lutheran 79, NFL Yet Academy (Ariz.) 53 — At Foothill, Holthaus and Matt Blair each scored 13 points, and the Crusaders outscored NFL Yet 52-20 in the second half to get the win in the consolation bracket.
Bell (12 points), Mayan (11 points), Mitch Fulfer (11 points) and John Molchon (10 points) also scored in double figures for Faith Lutheran.
Damien Buchan led NFL Yet with 20 points.
Valley 61, Silverado 46 — At Foothill, Mathis scored 13 as the Vikings beat the Skyhawks in the consolation bracket.
Taveon Jackson added 12 points, and Gerard Harden and Shea Garland each scored 10 for Valley.
Baldi led Silverado with 16 points.
Green Valley 75, Eldorado 61 — At Foothill, Cropper scored 25 points to help the Gators beat the Sundevils in the consolation bracket.
Kris Nicholas added 14 points for Green Valley.
Jayveon Brown scored 23 points to lead Eldorado. D’Quan Crockett added 12 points, and Kareem Irving scored 11 for the Sundevils.
Army-Navy (Calif.) 56, Eldorado 52 — At Foothill, Morris had 25 points to lead Army-Navy over the Sundevils.
Brown scored 23 points, and Crockett had 12 points for Eldorado.
Basic 60, Trinity 53 — At Foothill, Antraye Johnson had 21 points, and Slayton scored 20 as the Wolves beat the Thunder in the consolation bracket.
Sam Bittner led Trinity with 20 points.
Shadow Ridge coach Robert Nelson knew exactly what to draw up when his team saw its six-point lead disappear in the final three minutes.
Coming out of a timeout with 5.3 seconds to play, Shadow Ridge guard Serph Decker took the inbounds pass up the court and was met by Chaparral defenders. Decker then kicked the ball to Jordin Williams, who took two dribbles and hit a floater as time expired to give the Mustangs a 55-54 victory over the Cowboys in the White Division at Del Sol.
“That worked out exactly like we thought it would,” Nelson said. “That’s enough time to get the ball up and get the shot up. I knew we’d (at least) get a shot to win the game. I told (Decker) to get the ball and ‘If they collapse on you, kick it to Jordin.”
Williams finished with 12 points, and Decker added 11 points for the Mustangs, who also got 18 points from Preston Echols including 13 in the second half.
“They’re my three guys who score,” Nelson said. “We kind of lean heavily on them and they played well. Preston’s presence inside was big for us, and they (Decker, Williams) have both been around 15 to 20 points the last six or seven games.”
After Chaparral tied the game 51-51, Echols hit a bucket to put Shadow Ridge up 53-51 with 35 seconds left.
Chaparral answered with a 3-pointer the ensuing possession to make it 54-53 with 5.3 seconds, forcing Nelson to take a timeout.
Tyree McNeal (21 points) and Marc Silas (20 points) accounted for the majority of the offense for Chaparral, which shot just 10 of 21 from the free-throw line.
Nelson was pleased with the 2-0 mark Thursday, but admitted some work still needs to be done.
“Great way to start off the tournament (but) there’s things to improve on,” Nelson said. “We need to take care of the ball and rebound defensively. We have to focus on those two things. As we advance in the tournament like this and advance in division play, you don’t want close games.”
Chaparral 64, Del Sol 57 — At Del Sol, McNeal scored 22 of his 33 points in the second half as the Cowboys got by the Dragons.
Silas added 16 points for Chaparral, which trailed 27-22 at halftime.
Brian Greer scored 16 points, and Kyle Collins had 14 points for Del Sol, which also got 10 points from Jonross Juhas.
Bonanza 68, Coalinga (Calif.) 46 — At Del Sol, Jamal Logan had 13 of his 23 points in the first half, and the Bengals blew by the Horned Toads after halftime.
Travis Noone had 12 points for Bonanza, which pulled away after being tied 30-30 at the half.
Anthony Zataray led Coalinga with 12 points.
Shadow Ridge 59, Hug 41 — At Del Sol, Decker scored 17 points to lift the Mustangs over the Hawks.
Echols had 14 points and Williams scored 10 for the Mustangs, who held a 26-18 advantage at the break.
Masaki Nakayama led Hug with 13 points.
Abraham Lincoln 67 (Colo.), Western 44 — At Del Sol, Michael Sparks led all scorers with 23 points as the Lancers dominated the Warriors.
Daniel Gonzalez had 16 points, and Ethan Christian added 10 points for Lincoln, which led 31-17 at the break and finished with 10 3-pointers.
Deaven Klepek and Keon Lea had 10 points apiece for the Warriors.
Valhalla (Calif.) 50, Spring Valley 48 — At Del Sol, George Fakhoury had 14 points as the Norsemen rallied from a 31-27 halftime deficit to top the Grizzlies.
David Gazale scored all 12 of his points in the second half for Valhalla.
Travis Walton had 16 points for Spring Valley, which shot just 9 of 21 from the free-throw line. Ryan Goecke added 10 points for the Grizzlies.
Granite Hills (Calif.) 48, Rancho 45 — At Del Sol, Andrew Manning had 19 points, and the Eagles squeaked by the Rams.
Rancho’s Jaylin Gaston had 13 points.
Centennial 71, Montgomery (Calif.) 46 — At Del Sol, Troy Brown’s 18 points helped the Bulldogs blow by the Aztecs.
Khalil Thompson had 12 points for Centennial, which built a 28-14 halftime lead and never looked back.
DeAnthony Evans scored 18 points for Montgomery.
Bonanza 69, Del Sol 61 — At Del Sol, DeAndre Hicks led four Bengals in double figures as Bonanza downed the Dragons.
Logan had 16 points, and DaVonta Price added 14 points for the Bengals, who also got 10 points from D.J. Fletcher.
Greer was the game’s leading scorer with 23 points for Del Sol, which led 32-27 at halftime. Collins had 11 points and Rashaun Lawson scored 10 for the Dragons.
Spring Valley 52, Western 36 — At Del Sol, Carl Albert scored 11 points as the Grizzlies cruised to a victory over the Warriors.
Walton and DeVante Moten each had eight points for Spring Valley, which led 22-10 at the break.
Lea had 13 points for Western.
Montgomery (Calif.) 51, Rancho 49 — At Del Sol, Charles Crawford hit four 3-pointers and recorded 25 points as the Aztecs survived the Rams.
Evans added 14 points for Montgomery, which led 30-27 at halftime.
Rancho’s David McKeever had 19 points, but missed a 16-footer that would have sent the game into overtime.
Centennial 51, Granite Hills (Calif.) 38 — At Del Sol, Brown led all scorers with 20 points as the Bulldogs routed Granite Hills.
Eddie Davis added seven points for Centennial, which led 29-17 at halftime.