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Torrey Pines Breezes Past Mt. Carmel

John Farrell, Torrey Pines High’s boys’ basketball coach, was sitting just as close to the edge of his chair, chewing his gum just as hard and shouting instructions just as loudly in the second half as in the first half of his team’s 95-58 Palomar League victory over Mt. Carmel Wednesday.

Maybe he remembered. Last season, Mt. Carmel was the only team to defeat the Falcons in the regular season. A learning experience?

“Yeah,” Farrell said with a smile. “We learned that they beat us. We don’t want that to happen again.”

If Wednesday’s game at Torrey Pines was any indication, it probably won’t this year. The suspense was over almost as quickly as the national anthem, which the Torrey Pines band played briskly in 1 minute 14 seconds. For all practical purposes, the Falcons (16-1, 2-0) put the game away about 3 minutes into the first quarter.

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With the score tied at 9, Torrey Pines went on a 14-2 run with center Kevin Flanagan and guard Kyle Armstrong scoring 6 points apiece. Flanagan scored 23 first-half points, his high of the season, and finished with 25 after an unspectacular second half. Courtie Miller added 22 for the Falcons, Armstrong had 16.

The Falcons led, 32-16, at the end of the first quarter, 63-29, at halftime and, 81-44, at the end of the third quarter. Armstrong was 4 of 5 from 3-point range in the first half. Flanagan led Torrey Pines in rebounding with 10; Miller had 9.

Mt. Carmel (9-6, 1-2) played without center Shane Knight, who is sick with the flu. In last season’s Mt. Carmel win, Knight, a slender 6-foot 7-inch forward, burned the Falcons with backdoor layups and defensive rebounds. His services were sorely missed.

“We’ll have Shane next time,” said Mt. Carmel Coach John Marincovich about the teams’ other league meeting. “That will make a difference. We don’t have much experience after him.”

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Without Knight, Mt. Carmel was easy pickings for the Falcons, who broke a school record of 61 with 63 first-half points. Torrey Pines looked well on its way to a 100-point game when Farrell decided to have his team work on man-to-man defense and some new offensive schemes. So the second half lacked punch, and the entertainment factor waned anyway as the game’s 2 dunks came in the first half.

“The second half left a lot to be desired,” Flanagan said. “I think we tried to work on some things that we’re probably not as good at.”

Mt. Carmel was led by 6-3 forward Mike Graves, who scored 10; Jason Mann and Mike Herman added 8 apiece.

Flanagan said Torrey Pines had a little extra incentive for this game. Last year’s game is still clear in his mind.

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“How could I forget?” he asked. “I was sure we wouldn’t lose this one.”

Torrey Pines’ only loss this year came against Miami Carol City in the final of the Palms Tournament 2 weeks ago in Ft. Myers, Fla. The Falcons were overmatched against Miami’s two 6-10 forwards and its 7-foot center.

“They’re solid all the way around,” Farrell said. “They’ve got all the tools and they complement each other. They haven’t lost a tournament in 5 years.”

But here in San Diego, the Falcons are finding few opponents that can stay with their quick offense. Morse gave them their closest tussle of the season last Saturday in a 3-point Torrey Pines’ victory.

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Farrell, though, doesn’t plan to take the Palomar League lightly.

“Everyone can give you a good game if you’re not ready,” he said. “This is a good league.”


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