Tornadoes topped in GCC tourney final

On a good day this summer, when the Hoover High boys' basketball team has shot well from the field, it has usually won.

When the Tornadoes have not shot well, they've struggled while playing an up-tempo game.

That's what happened to the Tornadoes in the championship game of the Vaquero Summer Classic at Glendale Community College.

Hoover struggled down the stretch, blowing a 10-point, second-half lead in a 64-54 loss to Mark Keppel on Sunday at Glendale college.

"The tempo was up and down, but we were not scoring," Hoover Coach Jack Van Patten said. "We had a stretch when we couldn't score. We hit a dry spell.

"Their guys hit some big shots. They shot the way we shoot the ball on a really good day. We had a couple of bad breaks. Nothing bad. That's a pretty good team we played."

The Tornadoes have played well this summer, surprising their opponents with their effective shooting and persistent man-to-man defense. They defeated Crescenta Valley in double overtime Friday and St. Francis on Saturday to advance to the final.

The championship game saw the Tornadoes face a Mark Keppel squad -- which defeated Hoover's rival, Glendale, 56-28, on Friday -- that used a blitz of three-pointers late in the second half to pull away for the title.

"They hit a lot of three-pointers," Hoover junior guard Teo Davidian said. "I guess that's what they do."

Davidian has been a part of a Tornado resurgence this summer.

The Torndaoes have been led by a multitude of players, including Davidian and senior Jashley Francisco, who will look to help the Tornadoes avenge last year's 2-12 record in the Pacific League when the season begins in the winter.

Francisco has been a steady presence for Van Patten this summer. He knew he wasn't reliable Sunday. He blamed himself for his team's loss.

"I'm going to take the blame for the whole team," Francisco said. "I played horrible. I was missing all of my shots. It was my fault. They relied on me and I let them down.

"[My teammates] played really well and if it wasn't for my mistakes, we would've won."

Hoover has won more often than not this summer because of its team chemistry, Francisco said.

"We enjoy playing with each other," he said. "We have good chemistry and we have fun."

Davidian said this year's team is also more committed to each other compared to last season's squad, which featured four 2012 graduates in the starting lineup.

"Last year's seniors gave up on the team after losing a couple of games," he said. "We have more commitment."

Van Patten has noticed.

"This group is a pretty focused group," he said. "They practiced with a purpose. I don't have to sit there and pull teeth. They enjoy playing the game together. They compete. It makes a huge difference. We get good practices. These guys are focused. These guys realize it's the little things we have to do."

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