WATSONVILLE — The St. Patrick-St. Vincent Bruins used their speed and size to win the Don and Martha Price Christmas Classic championship 64-52 over the Monte Vista Christian Mustangs Saturday afternoon in Watsonville.
Sophomores D’Shawn Hopkins and Ryan De Los Santos scored 18 and 23 points respectively, but it wasn’t enough for the young Mustangs.
Monte Vista Christian (4-6) sports nine sophomores on their roster this season, with just two juniors and one senior.
“There’s not a lot to dislike about losing to a team like that by 12 points,” said Monte Vista Christian head coach Dan Mooney. “To be 4-6 and make it to the tournament final with this young of a team is something to be proud of.”
Hopkins and Christian Schmidt -- both sophomores -- are the only two Mustangs that have varsity experience.
Only Hopkins played significant minutes on last season’s Monterey Bay League Pacific champion team.
“It just makes me say, ‘wow,’’ Mooney said. “The future looks bright. A first class program comes in here and we lose by 12. I think we played a great game.”
The Bruins (8-1) made the trip from Vallejo where they play in the Tri-County Rock League, which includes powerhouses El Cerrito (20th in the state) and Selesian (50th in the state).
They used their athletic ability to drop in 44 points in the paint.
Thirty-four of those points came in transition.
“That’s our strength,” said St. Patrick-St. Vincent head coach Derek Walker. “I tell our guys all the time, ‘if you defend and rebound, then good things will happen for you.’”
Senior guard Jordan Hickman led the Bruins with 14 points. Eleven of their 13 players scored in what Walker called a “terrible” defensive performance, despite forcing the Mustangs into 26 turnovers.
“It was a lackluster effort,” said the coach, “but we did enough.”
The Mustangs will play Anzar on Jan. 4 at 3 p.m.
It is their final game before they start Monterey Bay League Gabilan play on Jan. 10 by hosting Palma at 7 p.m.
It will be the first time the Mustangs will see Gabilan action. They were moved up from the Pacific -- the lower division of the MBL -- to the Gabilan after finishing 11-1 and winning the league.
“We got our hands full this season,” Mooney said. “But you can’t expect any more from a group of 10th graders.”
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