It was all about the flu, a script with a happier ending for Torrey Pines and a senior whose coach once said he could be the very best if he wanted to be.
The Torrey Pines boys’ basketball team hurdled defending champion Madison, 75-49, Saturday at the Sports Arena to win the San Diego Section Division II championship.
Kevin Flanagan, Torrey Pines’ 6-foot-9 center, had been bugged by the flu but managed to drag himself to the court by game time and score 16 points. He never doubted he would play.
“Even if I was on my death bed, I would have been here,” Flanagan said.
John Farrell, Torrey Pines’ coach, likes to say that his forward, Courtie Miller, will go as far as he wants to. It all depends on his desire. Miller showed heaps of desire in the second half, scoring 17 of his game-high 26 points to end Madison’s hopes and establish himself as the player Farrell knows he can be.
Torrey Pines (31-1) was the victim of youth and an inspired Kearny team last season, losing in the semifinals of the playoffs to miss its opportunity to play in the Sports Arena. Now, the Falcons are headed for the Southern California Regionals as champions, not at-large participants.
“We’re a little bit older now,” Farrell said. “I think that maturity makes a big difference.”
Torrey Pines had trouble early, stumbling on its errant passes and an occasional air ball.
The Falcons began to gain momentum in the second quarter but were still kept at bay by Madison guard/forward Robby Robinson, who scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half.
Torrey Pines made its run in the third quarter, outscoring Madison, 19-11, to take a 49-36 lead. Eight more minutes and a couple of Miller dunks and the script was complete.
Madison Coach Jim Thompson would have settled for last year’s ending, when his team defeated Kearny in the title game. This year he knew the Warhawks (17-13) were a long shot.
"(Torrey Pines) is a great basketball team,” he said. “Their size is overwhelming. When you play a team like Torrey Pines, all the questionable things have to go your way.”