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Les Willsey

Staff Writer,

Nike TOC Day 3: Hamilton, Marcos de Niza fall in finals

Dec 22, 2012

Arizona's hopes for a division championship at the 2012 Nike Tournament of Champions came down to Hamilton and Marcos de Niza high schools on Saturday. Both fell short thanks to teams from California.

Hamilton played from a couple points down most of the final period and just couldn't catch Brea Olinda (Brea, CA) down the stretch, falling  to the Ladycats, 48-43, in the Division C title game at Hamilton High. Marcos de Niza hung with Horizon Christian Academy (San Diego, CA) for a half, but succumbed to third-quarter pressure and bowed to the Panthers, 71-61, in the Division B final.

Hamilton (13-2), vowing to pin success on defense this season, played well in that facet again. The difference on Saturday was shooting and the stellar play of Brea Olinda point guard Anna Kim.

Hamilton connected on just 14 of 52 shots from the field (27 percent). Kim, a stocky 5-foot-8 senior headed to Long Beach State next fall, was a force Hamilton couldn't contain. Kim poured in 27 points, almost all of it coming on penetration in the lane and free throws. Kim made one 3 in the first half. She scored 16 points in the second half and connected on all 12 of her free-throw attempts. Eight of those came in the final 3:19 of the game. The first two gave Brea Olinda the lead for good and the rest kept Hamilton a couple points behind.

"She's very strong and they knew to get it in her hands at the end," Hamilton coach Jeff Kain said. "We tried to deny her the ball, but once she got it we had to foul with time running down.."

Kain thought the grind of tough tournament games took its toll on shooting, as most of the Huskies perimeter shots were short.

"I'm still pleased with the way we played," Kain said. "We nearly beat one of the better teams in California and beat a state champion from Nevada (Reed High) I thought plaing at home today might give us a boost. It was a tough, intense game."

Kyndall Adams led Hamilton with 15 points and Aliyah Dickson had 13

Marcos de Niza (10-6) played Horizon Christian to a standstill in the first half, trailing 31-30 at intermission.  But Horizon Christian turned more aggressive on defense in the second half with a press and in half-court sets. The Panthers paid much closer attention to Marcos de Niza's standout post Sydnie Lengyel.

Lengyel had a easy time of it in the paint in the first half scoring 15 points, many uncontested. More attention was shown her the second half  as she scored just two points in the thrid period when Horizon Christian outscored Marcos, 20-11, to break the game open. Lengyel finished with 21 points and teammate Sophia Anaya came off the bench to add 19 points.

Horizon Christian got 21 points apiece from Janae Omusi and Dijenai Carrington and won all three of its tournament games by double digits.