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Posted On: 12/30/18 8:19 PM
The Torrey Pines Holiday Classic perennially brings some of the top high school teams to San Diego for four days of excellent basketball spread over five sites and divisions.
On Friday, Day 3 of the event, I honed in on St. Augustine in the morning, watching several San Diego teams – and a few out of the area ones. Later in the evening, I headed to Santa Fe Christian to catch the semifinals action of the Senators Division, which ended with a surprising upset.
Here is the second half of the day’s standouts:
Equipped with one Division 1 commit (Pepperdine commit Majok Deng), and a highly recruited 2020 prospect, Arizona team entered the game as the top seed and heavy favorites to win the Senator’s Division.
The Eagles, however, had other plans. Executing head coach Chad Bickley’s game plan to perfection, the Eagles used a 21-7 second quarter to effectively put the game away, neutralizing Deng in the process.
Chase Pagon and Trevan Martin led the Eagles with 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Nelson and Salpointe Catholic didn’t have the best performance against Santa Fe Christian. But it’s easy to see the 6-2 combo guard’s talent. He has excellent length and has filled out substantially since the last time I saw him in July. A potent jump shooter with a quick release, Nelson can get to his spots on the court, both from midrange and in traffic. He is a solid mid-major recruit.
We featured Pagon, a transfer from Virginia, in a prospect spotlight earlier this month. In the dominant win over Salpointe Catholic, he proved that his play to start the season is not a fluke. The athletic slashing “basketball player” has excellent balance and body control finishing around the rim. Slowly, but surely, he’s improving as a shooter, knocking down a baseline three in the game. His versatility and commitment to defense was key in the win, as he guarded both Nelson and Pepperdine commit Majok Deng.
The 6-3 sophomore slasher has worked hard on becoming a more consistent shooter, and he displayed his improvement Friday night. Martin, who scored 16 points, hit two threes that barely hit the rim, and knocked down several 10-foot pull-ups. This is a significant development for Martin, as improved shooting will create more driving opportunities.
Smith hit two of his four threes in the first quarter that set the tone for the Eagles blowout. Smith moves well without the ball and has a quick release. The wiry guard is also gaining confidence at the point, improving his handle against pressure and capably initiating the team’s halfcourt sets.
The long, lefty wing scorer has a picturesque release and delivery off the catch. His last three, his 16th point of the game, closed the door on Tesoro’s comeback. As he continues to improve his handle – especially going to his right – he will an even tougher cover on the perimeter.
Belvin is an extension of his coach Allen Caveness on the floor, embodying his fire and competitive nature. He has excellent quicks and gets into the paint at will, and is a willing and dynamic passer.
When St. Anthony needed someone to settle the team down in the fourth quarter, they turned to Staine, who capably handled the “point forward” duties and initiated the team’s offense. He is a jack of all trades: he handles the ball, can score it effectively from three levels (improved three-point shooter), rebounds and makes plays for others.
The wiry forward does two things that translate to the next level very well: he defends multiple positions and he rebounds – on both ends – at a prolific rate. Nelloms corralled several key rebounds to thwart Tesoro’s comeback attempt, while also defending the team’s post threat, Noah Honetschlager.