Santa Ana Valley fought back from a 13-point, fourth-quarter deficit only to fall short to Bellflower St. John Bosco, 61-54, in the title game of Brea-Olinda tournament Thursday night at Brea-Olinda High.
The Braves (11-1) won the championship for the second consecutive season, beating back Santa Ana Valley (13-2) behind the fourth-quarter play of Jelani Gardner.
Santa Ana Valley trailed, 51-38, when St. John Bosco sophomore forward Brian Johnson slammed in a rebound with 5 minutes 34 seconds left in the game. The Falcons rallied to close the gap to 57-54 with 43 seconds left on Olujimi Mann’s free throw.
St. John Bosco guard Kevin Christian, who transferred from Sunny Hills two years ago, scored on a layup with 33 seconds remaining and Rich Siemensma made two free throws with nine seconds left to ice the game.
“We will never give up, that’s for sure,” Santa Ana Valley Coach Rich Prospero said. “But we were a little too late.”
After the Falcons had tied the score, 29-29, with 6:05 left in the third quarter, St. John Bosco went on a 14-3 run, forcing turnovers with its full-court press.
Gardner, the tournament’s most valuable player, had 14 points and four assists, but Johnson led Braves’ scoring with 16 points. Christian added 10 points for the Braves. Mann, a sophomore who was selected to the all-tournament team, led Valley with 17 points and Alex Fletcher added 15.
In other tournament games:
La Mirada 77, Troy 54--Joey Gorini scored 21 points to lead La Mirada in the fifth-place game. Greg Abbott scored 17 points for Troy.
La Habra 58, Brea-Olinda 43--Senior Ken Cauley had a game-high 18 points, helping La Habra in a consolation game. Teammate Andrija Kristich added 11 points for the Highlanders. John Norum led Brea-Olinda with 11 points and Ryan Dieringer added nine, including three three-pointers.
Rancho Alamitos 81, Ontario Blakelock (Canada) 38--Randy Parrish had 20 points for Rancho Alamitos in a consolation game.