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ABOVE THE RIM TOURNAMENT : Oak Hill, Mater Dei Advance to the Title Game

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Oak Hill Academy seemed a little out of sync Monday night in the semifinals of the Above the Rim Hoopwear Classic at San Diego State’s Peterson Gym.

The team from the town with the funny name, Mouth of Wilson, Va., has had a schedule this month that would make the Lakers moan. And at 7 tonight against Santa Ana Mater Dei, finally, their 17-day journey ends.

These road Warriors scored an 80-62 victory over Brooklyn’s Lincoln Railsplitters, then went home--to a hotel room--and skipped the Carson show.

“Usually we practice at tournaments like this, but we haven’t practiced much here; we’re just going to hang in there,” Oak Hill Coach Steve Smith said. “It’s tough living out of a suitcase. I think they’re a little fatigued from being on a road trip for so long.”

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So fatigued that the nation’s 10th-ranked team trailed after one quarter and was tied at 42 with 4:44 left in the third. Lincoln played much of the second quarter without Esaun Pinto, a 6-foot-6 bull who picked up his third foul less than 11 minutes into the game. He had six rebounds, and after exiting in the first half, Oak Hill went on 14-2 run.

Pinto had a team-high eight rebounds to go with his eight points. He fouled out with 7:02 left in the game and Lincoln trailing, 58-51. After that, bon voyage.

“That hurt them, obviously,” Smith said. “They needed that size and strength.

“Defensively, it was like pulling teeth; it was a struggle, but it was good enough to win.

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“We were about a half-step out of sync.”

Tripped up by road weariness, maybe?

“I don’t want to use that as an excuse,” Smith said.

The hotel and fast food diet began Dec. 13 when the team left for a tournament in Fort Myers, Fla., that ended Dec. 23. The next day they caught a plane to Charlotte, N.C., where they caught a plane for San Diego. There was no tree for them on Christmas day, only a trip west and an airline meal.

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Since arriving and playing their first game on Thursday, the Warriors haven’t done much but try to maintain their equilibrium. Aside from Sunday’s three-hour venture to Tijuana, there hasn’t been much in the way of field trips--no zoo, no Sea World, no Wild Animal Park, no beach, no Disneyland, no nothing.

“But a couple of the guys did come back (from Mexico) with Rolexes,” Smith quipped.

The guys who deserved new watches were junior guard Jeff McInnis and senior center Chris Davis, who scored 21 points apiece.

McInnis scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including six of six from the free-throw line, and Davis scored eight in the final period.

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Brian Thompson scored 16 points and Martice Moore scored 13.

Corey Johnson scored 14 for Lincoln; Darryle Flicking and freshman Stephon Marbury had 13 apiece. Tohaka Shipp scored 10.

Mater Dei 75, Bishop Ford 51--Mater Dei’s defense forced 25 turnover as the Monarchs advanced to the finals.

Mater Dei (14-0) bolted to a 22-12 lead over New York City’s seventh-ranked school and held a 43-22 lead at halftime.

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“Defense was the difference,” Bishop Ford Coach Ray Nash said. “They got us out of our offense and it looked like we never played the game before.”

Mater Dei’s David Drakeford scored a game-high 14 points and Reggie Geary added 12. Marmet Williams, Terence Wilborn and Ray Jackson scored 10 apiece.

Geary had four of Mater Dei’s 12 steals.

Mater Dei shot 59% from the floor.

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“We got a great defensive effort the first half,” Mater Dei Coach Gary McKnight said. “I don’t know who won, though--now we get Oak Hill.”

Torrey Pines 66, Lincoln 59--Sophomore center Scot Pollard (6-8) did it all for Torrey Pines: 25 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and seven blocks, although he did get some welcome help from Peter Bates and Craig Brown, who scored 15 and 11 points, respectively, for the Falcons. Bates, a junior forward, had nine rebounds.

Pasadena Muir 76, Carlsbad 61--Carlsbad led a 35-33 halftime lead slip away in the third quarter, when the Lancers were outscored, 24-11. Kewan Shariff led Carlsbad with a game-high 27 points. Carlsbad’s second leading scorer was Chad Nelson, with nine points. Muir had three players in double figures. The Lancers outrebounded Muir, 29-25.

Cleveland St. Joe’s 77, El Camino 67--In the first half, El Camino committed 10 fouls to St. Joe’s eight. In the second half, El Camino committed 18 to St. Joe’s three. Four El Camino players, including three of its big rebounders, fouled out in the fourth quarter. El Camino’s Sky Harrison led all scorers with 25. El Camino fell to 6-4.

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