After losing 10 seniors to graduation last year, Spring Valley boys basketball coach Phil McAlister was curious where veteran leadership would emerge this season.
On Wednesday night, the Grizzlies found some answers in a losing effort against one of the best teams they’ll face all season.
Spring Valley fell 80-52 to Dominguez of Compton, Calif., in the opening game of the Bishop Gorman Holiday Classic.
Spring Valley (1-4) was unable to climb out of a 43-24 hole at halftime, but the Grizzlies got some positives out of the second half.
“In the first half, we were getting smashed, and they were running up and down the floor on us,” Spring Valley junior post player Justin Omogun said. “But in the second half, we pulled through, kept our heads and made a decent run.”
Omogun scored 14 points, and Esteban Gonzalez added 10 for the Grizzlies, who have only one guard back from last season.
“We’re just trying to get as much experience as possible,” McAlister said.
Chayson Williams paced the Dons with 15 points. Teammates Myron Green (13), Keala King (13) and Robert Mandingo (11) also scored in double figures.
Perennial California power Dominguez has churned out past and present NBA players such as Dennis Johnson, Tyson Chandler and Tayshaun Prince.
But the Dons will play this week without the marquee player in the 18-team tournament.
Dominguez senior swingman Jordan Hamilton has signed with Texas, but he lost an appeal Wednesday for a fifth year of high school eligibility, Dons coach Duane Cooper said.
Still, Dominguez was never threatened, clearing its bench early in the second half and finishing with nine players scoring.
WEATHER JUMBLES TOURNAMENT — Heavy snow in the Las Vegas area jolted the opening day of the tournament.
Wednesday’s game between Foothill and Buchanan of Clovis, Calif., was called off after Buchanan was forced to spend Wednesday night in Baker, Calif., because of poor weather.
Foothill advanced by default to play St. John’s of Washington, D.C., at 2 p.m. today, and Buchanan is scheduled to face Spring Valley at the same time.
Tournament organizers will try to find Buchanan an extra game Saturday, Gorman coach Grant Rice said.
Rice said the schedule is also in limbo because of weather-related flight delays and cancellations at McCarran International Airport.
Only five teams in the tourney are local, and 10 are from out of state. Eight had given confirmation Wednesday night they would make it, Rice said.