East County Sports

Patriots win Phoenix Nike TOC opener

Christian High prior to the tip on Wednesday.

EastCountySports.com staff report

PHOENIX – The Christian High Patriots made their way to the prestigious Nike Tournament of Champions here on Wednesday.

The Patriots are honored to be playing in the 22nd annual basketball tournament.

Christian High defeated Chaparral, of Parker, Colo., 59-30, on Wednesday in its bracket opener.

Despite trailing in the opening minutes, the Patriots blitzed their way in the second quarter into a 33-13 lead.

Junior guard ALLIE CARREON had 10 of her 13 points in the first half for Christian High.

“It’s a great honor to be invited to this tournament, Carreon said. “Our main goal is to come into this tournament and make a statement.”

Junior forward SIMONE JAMES came in next with 12 markers, including six in the fourth quarter, as the Pats outscored the Wolverines, 18-7, to end up blowing out the 19th-rated team from Colorado.

Both teams are now 5-2.

Carreon scored seven of the Patriots’ first nine points of the second quarter. She had three three-pointers in the game.

“I try to do the little things that our team needs and my teammates keep me confident all game,” Carreon said. “At practice, we made an emphasis on ensuring we were aggressive defensively from the jump. “

Sophomore guard KRISTIN WILLIAMS finished with 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers.

“Nike TOC is a great opportunity to show up and show out,” Williams said. “We don’t want to be overlooked and this tourney is where we need to show it. We have a very big opportunity at this event, and just proving who we are and what we do best will definitely set us apart from other (teams).”

Junior guard AMAYA HOWARD contributed seven points.

“I think the results reveal our hard work,” Christian High head coach Howard said. “We fought hard and played together.

“I think this week of preparation at practice we made adjustments on the little things and were able to put it into action against a tough Chaparral  team.”

The Patriots will meet Central Catholic (Ore.) on Thursday at 4:30.

“It’s awesome to see so many girls mix it up for us,” Howard said. “We know a lot of expectation comes with being a high-caliber team.  However, we try not to get caught up in the hype and continue to get better individually, help one another grow and have fun.

“There are several good teams but we are definitely one of them.”

The Nike Tournament of Champions is one of the nation’s most prestigous in-season events, drawing 112 teams to Phoenix.

“It’s a blessing to be amongst those invited to the Nike TOC,” Christian High head coach VICKIE CARRINGTON said. “This is my tenth year having teams invited to participate in the TOC and it’s always great competition.

“If you don’t come to play you are gonna get spanked because no team is going to take their feet off the gas in this venue. It’s a showcase in front of college coaches, so people go to work.”

Senior guard YESINIA SMITH had five rebounds, four assists and three steals in the win over Chaparral.

“We stepped up our defense and really locked in,” Carrington said. “Offensively, we missed our outside shots but were dominant going to the rack.”

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