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LAKE MEAD CLASSIC: Defense helps Meadows boys to tournament title

The Meadows boys basketball team didn’t have its best offensive performance Saturday.

But the Mustangs’ defense more than made up for it in a 54-33 win over Boulder City in the championship game of the Lake Mead Holiday Classic at Lake Mead.

The Meadows moved to 4-0 on the season and grabbed momentum for Division III Southern League play, which starts Dec. 9.

“I’m really happy with the way we defended. That was just unbelievable,” The Meadows coach Gary Hannig said. “At the end of the day, defense wins championships. We preach that all the time. And I think our defense was really good in this tournament.

“We’re happy to get off to a strong start. This was one of our goals: come in here, go undefeated and win the championship. And we did that, so I’m happy.”

Led by the active play on defense of Ethan Fridman, Jake Epstein and Max Hisatake, the Mustangs again got off to a strong start.

Boulder City (3-3) struggled to navigate through The Meadows’ full-court pressure and quickly fell behind 18-4 midway through the first quarter.

The Mustangs gave up just one field goal and four points in the second quarter to take a 30-12 halftime lead. Hisatake and Epstein were forced to sit the last four minutes of the second quarter because of foul trouble, but teammate Asheesh Chopra shouldered the load on offense.

The junior guard scored 13 of his 16 points in the half to keep The Meadows ahead comfortably. Hisatake, who scored 16 points, had nine points and nine rebounds in the second half. Epstein finished with 14 points for the Mustangs.

“We weathered the storm,” Hannig said. “We had a couple of guys come off the bench and give us some valuable minutes. Asheesh really stepped up and gave us some scoring, and Fridman still played solid. It was a good team performance.”

Quentin Turner and Tanner Montgomery had seven points apiece for Boulder City.

The Meadows created 11 second-half turnovers and led by as many as 24 points.

“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well today,” Hannig said. “But our effort was outstanding. Our energy was great. Our defense was good. And we rebounded the ball well. Max gets a ton of rebounds.”

Hisatake, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, led the all-tournament team with Fridman. Among those named to the team were: Boulder City’s Carson Balistere, Calvary Chapel’s Quentin Hank, Lake Mead’s Austin Newby, Lincoln County’s Elijah Carr and Moapa Valley’s Jay Mortensen.

Calvary Chapel 42, Moapa Valley 35 — Cameron Varela scored nine of his 13 points in the second half as the Lions outlasted the Pirates in the Silver Bracket final.

Hank made 8 of 11 free throws and finished with 12 points for Calvary Chapel, which led 28-23 after three quarters.

Derek Cope had 15 points, and Nate Cox scored 10 for Moapa Valley.

Spring Creek 56, Lake Mead 45 — Cooper Cavaness scored 18 points to lead the Spartans by the Eagles.

Logan Patton added 10 points for Spring Creek, which led 33-10 at halftime.

Lake Mead’s Shay Rutledge scored 21 points, and teammate Newby added 12 points.

West Wendover 51, Lincoln County 31 — Bryan Flores led three double-figure scorers with 15 points, and the Wolverines routed the Lynx in a consolation game.

Zade Elton had 12 points, and Jorge Lopez scored 11 for West Wendover.

Derek Cox led Lincoln County with 10 points.

GIRLS

Lincoln County 40, Pahranagat Valley 20 — Tournament MVP Savannah Harr had 12 points, six steals and two assists to lead the Lynx over the Panthers for the girls tournament title.

Kristal Jackson added 11 points and seven rebounds for Lincoln County, which led 22-10 at the half.

Karley Whipple led Pahranagat Valley with eight points.

Calvary Chapel 31, The Meadows 25 — Sara Hernandez scored nine points to lead the Lions by the Mustangs.

Kaitlin Harris added eight points for Calvary Chapel.

Marcella Peek led The Meadows with 12 points and 15 rebounds, and teammate Talia Steinwald also grabbed 15 rebounds.

Calvary Christian (Calif.) 41, Lake Mead 19 — Sierra Maye scored 23 points to lead the Royal Knights over the Eagles.

Marybeth Bruniga led Lake Mead with six points.

West Wendover 38, Boulder City 36 — Anahi Esparza had 16 points to lead the Wolverines over the Eagles.

Lauren Mullins led Boulder City with 10 points.

Boys box scores:

The Meadows 54, Boulder City 33

Spring Creek 56, Lake Mead 45

West Wendover 51, Lincoln County 31

Calvary Chapel 42, Moapa Valley 35

Girls box scores:

Calvary Christian (Calif.) 41, Lake Mead 19

Calvary Chapel 31, The Meadows 25

West Wendover 38, Boulder City 26

Lincoln County 40, Pahranagat Valley 20

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