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Hillcrest tops Aliso Niguel to win King of the Hill Tournament

By in Press Enterprise on December 31, 2017

By Eric-Paul Johnson

RIVERSIDE >> Hillcrest boys basketball coach Jackson Wood went into the locker room at halftime wondering how long the Trojans could go with Sebastian Mendoza sitting on the bench.

The answer came quickly.

Aliso Niguel scored the first eight points of the second half to take the lead, so Wood decided to put Mendoza back in with four fouls.

“I figured it was now or never,” Wood said. “Sebastian is one of our best players, and I couldn’t risk letting the game get away from us.”

Mendoza’s presence helped settle things down, and Hillcrest went on a 16-1 run to take control. Mendoza scored half of those points.

Hillcrest continued to pull away in the fourth quarter and ended up cruising to a 64-48 victory to win its King of the Hill Tournament.

“I needed to help my team in any way I could,” said Mendoza, who finished with 13 points en route to earning all-tournament honors.

Hillcrest (14-2) played strong team defense during the deciding run, as Aliso Niguel went more than eight minutes without a field goal.

Wood and assistant coach Cedric Wells found a perfect balance in substituting Mendoza and Osman Mansaray during the second half.

“Osman is one of the best on-the-ball defenders, so we were going to use that to our advantage,” Wood said. “He really did a great job keeping their No. 1 (Lucas Parks) in front of him in the second half.”

Hillcrest’s balanced scoring attack was impressive, with six players scoring at least seven points. Victor Ohia Obioha led the way with 14 points, and was chosen the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Brian Mendoza and Marco Alvaradejo each had 11 for the Trojans.

“It’s something we try to do each game,” Sebastian Mendoza said.

Hillcrest sealed the game at the free-throw line. The Trojans made their first 15 attempts and finished the game 19 […]    

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