By Greg Perkins
The Roadrunners made their way to the championship game of the Rain and Drain Thanksgiving tournament hosted by Tempe Prep last Friday and Saturday. Holbrook won its first five games of the tourney, but fell in the title game to Arizona Charter Academy by just two points.
The same two teams that met in the championship game also kicked off the tournament in pool play on Friday. With tournament games played under a two half format as opposed to the traditional four quarters, Holbrook led a close game at the half 26-23 against the Bulldogs. Getting scoring contributions from eight of their 10 players, the Roadrunners pulled away in the second half to win the game 57-47. Marlin Martin led the scoring with 14, followed by Miireux Begaii with 13, Sylas Chevarillo, 10, Marcel Young, 9, Quinlan Keoni, 4, Benson Davis, 3, and Marcos Clark and Jordan Smith, 2 each.
Friday’s second contest was a 62-24 rout by the Roadrunners over the Benjamin Franklin Chargers. Holbrook’s defense gave up just 10 first half points to set the tone. Despite not attempting a single free throw in the game, nine of the 10 players in uniform scored for the victors. Young had 14, Begaii, 13, Alec Smith, 10, Jordan Smith, 8, Nathan Johnson, 6, Clark 5, and Davis, Chevarillo and Keoni, 2 each.
Their third and final game of the day included an even more impressive performance by the Roadrunner defense, which held Arete Prep to just 18 points in a 52-18 win. Also named the Chargers, Arete Prep managed only three first half points while giving up 31 to Holbrook. Clark led Holbrook in scoring with 12, Alec Smith added 11, Chevarillo, 10, Young, 8, Martin, 7, and Johnson, 4. Holbrook went six for 14 at the free throw line and made two three-point shots.
On Saturday morning Holbrook faced the Gilbert Classical Spartans in the first round of bracket play and came away with a 58-18 win. Bracket games were played with a 14-minute first half, followed by regulation length third and fourth periods. Holbrook led 37-8 at the half. All 10 players on Holbrook’s roster scored, though Keoni was the only player in double figures with 12 points.
The semifinal game was a match-up with the Arizona College Prep Knights. Holbrook again played well in the first half, taking a 33-12 lead into the break. A strong third period put the game away and the Birds went on to the championship game with a 61-25 win. Young led the offense with a 22-point performance. Martin added 12, Davis and Johnson, 6 each, Clark, 5, Begaii and Keoni, 4 each, and Chevarillo, 2.
In the championship game, Holbrook’s rematch with the Bulldogs from Arizona Charter Academy, the Roadrunners were on top 23-18 at the half. The Bulldogs fought back to tie the game at 35-35 heading to the fourth quarter. In the final eight minutes Holbrook was outscored by two points, finishing as the runner-up in the tournament. Martin led the team with 9 points, followed by Young with 8, Begaii, 7, Alec Smith 6, Clark and Keoni, 4 each, and Davis, Chevarillo and Johnson, 2 each. Holbrook made 10 of 13 free throws in the title game.
“We beat them in the first game, but they have five seniors that are pretty good, and they came back and beat us when it counted the most. Marcel got in foul trouble early and really couldn’t get into a rhythm before fouling out which hurt us a little,” said Coach Delmar Johnson.
With their record at 6-1 heading into Tuesday’s game at Chinle, the Roadrunners will have just a few days to prepare for next Tuesday’s game at Winslow. The Roadrunners have a busy slate next week with the Winslow game followed by the Round Valley Tournament scheduled Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 11-13. Holbrook will host Valley Sanders on Monday, Dec. 15.