Ivan Barahona and his Hollywood Pacific Hills boys basketball team wins. A lot.
And it’s no different when the Bruins come to the National Prep Classic hosted by St. Joseph.
It was no different Friday night.
Pacific Hills, facing Antioch Deer Valley and national top-20 recruit Marcus Lee, had little trouble continuing its winning ways with a dominant 88-72 win over the Wolverines. Barahona had led the Bruins to titles at the past two NPCs but his team isn’t in the actual tournament this year. The Bruins just came to take on some of the best teams in California. All the while they proved they’re one of the top teams in the state.
Barahona and his entire coaching staff, while the Bruins were busy blowing out Deer Valley in the second half, were barking orders to players like it was a state championship game, even though there wasn’t anything on the line.
“I’m intense because I want to win every game, that’s our intention,” Barahona said. “I know we weren’t here for the tournament, but we came here to play some very good teams, Deer Valley and Westchester.”
Pacific Hills beat Westchester, a six-time state champion, 67-62 in triple-overtime Thursday night.
But the Bruins aren’t just here to win. They’re also here to catch the attention of some important figures: College coaches and scouts. A lot of them come to the NPC to get a look at the high-class level of talent.
“It gives our guys exposure. There’s a lot of college coaches in here and I knew they’d come,” Barahona said. “I have a lot of major players and I want to expose them to as many college coaches as possible.
“Whether we win or lose we want to come up here and put on a good show and expose our kids. This will prepare us for a CIF championship, if we get there, for the playoffs.”
Lee, who has committed to Kentucky and doesn’t need any extra exposure, had two incredible dunks in the game but was on the bench for long periods of time due to foul trouble.
“He’s just another high school player — so he’s going to Kentucky,” Barahona said. “Do you see what Kentucky has right now? They have a lot of high-major players but they can’t play basketball.
“Lee’s very good but he’s still a high school player. He’s going to have to transition to the college level.”
The Bruins have several players who will be transitioning to the college level next year. Jahmel Taylor had 25 points for Pacific Hills while Marcus Jackson had 21 and Namon Wright added 23. All three of those players already have Division I scholarships and will likely be contributing to teams in the Pac-12 this time next year.
The Bruins won a CIF Southern Section title last year and it looks like they’ll be in contention for that and maybe a state championship this year.
Palmdale 55, Clovis Buchanan 47
Timothy Gillmore popped in 21 points and Marcus Foster added 11 as the Falcons defeated the Bears.
Gannon Castle led Buchanan with 10 points.
Sylmar 43, San Luis Obispo 36
The Spartans staved off Laurie Decker’s Tigers in an afternoon tournament game.
Ruben Gonzales iced it for Sylmar by making two free throws in the closing seconds to make it 43-36. Earl Baker led Sylmar with 10 points. San Luis Obispo’s David Thoreson, with 18, was the high scorer for the game.
Cabrillo 72, Hueneme 43
Cabrillo jumped out to a big early lead and never looked back while defeating Hueneme in the Conquistadores’ opening game at the Carpinteria Tournament.
The Conqs were ahead by 14 points — 25 to 11 — after the first quarter and the Vikings never got any closer than that.
Cabrillo (3-3) had four players in double figures led by Chad Brodhead’s 18 point night. Josh West added 16, Michael Woodard 13 and Aaron Abayari 10 in the victory.
The Conqs are back in action at 5 p.m. this evening against the winner of Friday’s Santa Barbara/Nipomo matchup.
Valley Christian Academy 93, Cuyama Valley 16
Conley Runions led four Lions in double figures with 21 points as the visitors (3-3, 2-0) overwhelmed the Bears in a Coast Valley League game at Cuyama.
Malac Taylor scored 16 points for VCA. Jed Hedlund scored 15 points and Andy Wilson added 14.
Channel Islands 78, Orcutt Academy 53
Orcutt Academy lost its opener at the Carpinteria Tournament and fell into the consolation bracket.
Jaylen Holford led the Spartans with 15 points followed by Mauro Guzman (14), Manny Mangayao (10) and Dante Hodge (8). Holford and Guzman each knocked down four 3-point buckets.
The Spartans (1-7) continue play at the Carpintiera Tournemt at 7 p.m. this evening against the San Marcos/Carpinteria loser.
Valley Christian 60, Cuyama Valley 23
VCA won its Coast Valley League matchup at Cuyama Valley behind Simone Swain’s 14 points, and Kari Humann and Ellie Hedlund’s 10 point nights.
VCA outscored Cuyama 24-4 in the first quarter. That was already enough to win the game.
The win improves VCA’s record to 4-1.
The Lions are off until next Friday night when they are on the road at Coastal Christian in Arroyo Grande.
Cabrillo 1, St. Margaret’s 1
The Conquistadores surrendered a goal in the 10th minute of the game against the third ranked team in Division 3.
Kelsey Sherry tied the score in the 52nd minute of a tight defensive struggle.
Cabrillo plays at Crean Lutheran in Irvine this morning.