LC Boys' Basketball Shooting for Title in Holiday Classic

The La Cañada boys' varsity basketball team was one of four squads, along with Muir, Calabasas, South Torrance, which qualified for the semifinals of the 2005 La Cañada Holiday Classic by winning their preliminary rounds last week.

The Tournament, which began on Dec. 14 with nine teams playing in three separate pools, continued Monday and Tuesday with consolation, semifinal and championship games. No results were available at press time.

The hosts Spartans were in Pool A, which included the Los Angeles Lincoln Tigers and La Cañada's down the street rival, Flintridge Prep.

The Spartans took the first night off while the Rebels began the tournament against Lincoln. Things got very tight early in the contest, as both teams traded points from one side to the other. The first half ended with Prep ahead by only two points, 23-21, thanks to guard Andrew Beck's last second shot at the buzzer

But the second half got Prep going as Beck shot three 3- point conversions to open up a close game that was very much in Lincoln's grasp. Beck finished with 31 points to help Prep beat the Tigers, 52-39.

Lincoln then took on the Spartans two nights later, and the result was much worse. The Spartans opened up a 20-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, and the Tigers only could manage seven points at the end of the first half, trailing, 27-7. Lincoln became more aggressive toward the conclusion of the game, but La Cañada maintained its composure to win easily, 58-24.

With Lincoln now out of the tournament, the foothill rivals battled it out last Saturday for a chance to reach the semifinals. But Prep never got into the contest, as the Spartans managed to continue their dominance in the group by taking advantage of several Rebels' turnovers to advance to the next round by winning, 74-33.

In Pool B, Pasadena's Muir was joined by Schurr and South Torrance. Muir began with a no contest victory against Schurr as did South Torrance. So it came down to a weekend match up between the two to decide who would advance to the next level.

The game was a fight as the teams both traded leads until Muir turned the ball over too much near the end of the contest, to give South Torrance an upset victory, 59-52.

The final group, Pool C, involved Calabasas, along with two more foothill rivals, Glendale and Verdugo Hills. After Verdugo easily beat Glendale, the Dons next had to tangle with Calabasas, who gave their rivals a tough match that went down to the wire before Verdugo was a victim of last minute turnovers, with Calabasas finally winning, 45-33. Calabasas then beat Glendale to advance to the semifinals.

Three teams automatically qualified for Monday's contest, joined by one extra team which qualified as a wild card. La Cañada, which cruised into the final rounds, took on Muir, who made it in as the tournament's best of the rest, in the early contest. Pool group winners Calabasas and South Torrance battled each other in the evening's game.

On Tuesday, the early game featured the losers battling for third place, while in the later game the finalists played for the championship.

Photo by Mark GeroMAKING A POINT -- Flintridge Prep's guard Andrew Beck shoots a three-point basket in the Rebels' 74-33 loss to La Canada last Saturday in La Cañada Holiday Classic pool play

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