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Eagles test bench at tourney

Traveling to California during the winter break, the Boulder City High School boys basketball team made it to the championship game in the Orange Holiday Classic, before falling to champion La Habra 67-55.

Leading all scorers, senior Derrick Thomas scored 19 points, with seven rebounds; sophomores Ethan Speaker and Matt Morton added 10 points and nine rebounds apiece.

Displaying a stellar all-around performance, senior Karson Bailey scored 7 points in the championship game with six rebounds, five steals, four blocks and four assists.

Playing at a championship level throughout the first half of the season, the Eagles (11-3) also made the Lake Mead Holiday Classic championship in early December, defeating rival Moapa Valley.

“I thought our boys did a great job in California,” head coach John Balistere said. “We faced some really tough teams and we played well. We made it to the championship game and now we have a little break, which will be nice for us because we have some guys that are banged up.”

Playing four games in four day, the Eagles ran out of gas in the championship game but ran the table prior, defeating California programs Santa Fe 66-44, Foothill 51-48 and Cerritos 78-65.

“The competition was pretty solid, and with a couple players banged up, our bench really stepped up,” Thomas said. “This helps us prepare for the remainder of the season by being able to rely more on our bench, so that every person is ready to go at any moment.”Forming a solid one-two punch on both ends of the floor, Thomas and Speaker were named to the all-tournament team for their efforts.

Scoring in double figures in all four games, Thomas had a tournament-high 25 points against Cerritos with eight rebounds, while adding 19 points and 10 rebounds against Santa Fe and 16 points and eight rebounds against Foothill.

Speaker pulled down a tournament-high 17 rebounds with 14 points against Santa Fe, while adding 14 points and 11 rebounds against Cerritos and 9 points and 11 rebounds against Foothill.

Bailey provided two double-doubles, tallying 18 points and 15 rebounds against Cerritos and 17 points and 11 rebounds against Santa Fe, getting snubbed from the all-tournament team.

Returning to action Jan. 11 with a road game against Pahrump Valley, the Eagles are ready to bring their early season success into 2019 by sticking to the basics.

“I feel that if we continue to perform the fundamentals of coach Balistere’s coaching, which includes toughness, defense and rebounding, then we should end the season on a very high note,” Thomas said.

Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.

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