Roosevelt, Carlsbad Take Tourney Crowns!

Roosevelt, Carlsbad Take Tourney Crowns!


Roosevelt (Eastvale, Calif.) takes down St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) to capture The Classic at Damien, while Carlsbad (Calif.) gets past Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas) to win The Holiday Classic presented by SBLive. Brayden Burries is name The Classic MVP, but it’s junior teammate Issac Williamson that is key to Mustangs’ title game victory.

Going into The Classic at Damien Platinum Division title game, the conventional thinking was Roosevelt had to find a way to slow down St. John Bosco’s sensational sophomore (2026) guard Brandon McCoy. The abilities of the best juniors in the championship contest — Roosevelt’s Brayden Burries and St. John Bosco’s Elzie Harrington — figured to off-set each other. The Mustangs found the secret sauce to somewhat harness McCoy in the form of a 6-foot-1, 170-pound junior (2025) who just goes about his job and, like his teammate Burries, is grateful to be playing the game he loves.

That player is Issac Williamson and it’s no secret he is Roosevelt’s best perimeter defender. He got the assignment on McCoy and did an admirable job, helping to limit him to 13 points. The key to his championship game performance was scoring 17 points, including a twisting lay-up with 15 seconds remaining that halted a major Braves scoring run and hitting three of Roosevelt’s 10 3-pointers in its 68-65 title game victory. With the victory, the Mustangs upped their record to 16-1 heading into 2024, took down the No. 18 team in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings, and won the prestigious Platinum Division title for the first time in program history.

“He’s (Williamson) our best at pressuring the ball and we also wanted to stay disciplined in our gaps and stay in front of our man,” said Roosevelt senior Darnez Slater, who finished with a team-high 18 points. “It’s all about trusting our work.”

Roosevelt jumped on St. John Bosco (13-2) early and shot the ball much better from the outside than its opponent with the second quarter being the key, as Slater netted eight points in that eight-minute time period. Roosevelt led 21-19 after the first period and 41-28 at halftime, as the Mustangs held McCoy to four points in the first 16 minutes. Roosevelt’s lead got to as big as 16 points (50-34) before the Braves made their move to get back in the game.

St. John Bosco went on a late 12-2 run to get back in the game and within striking distance in the game’s closing minutes. The score went from 61-47 to 63-59 before Williamson’s clutch lay-up. Bosco did get to within three points (65-62) on a corner 3-pointer by McCoy with 12.8 seconds remaining, but could get no closer.

With nine seconds remaining Burries went to the line on the fifth team foul. He missed the first free throw and if this game were played last year, the ball would have been live and Bosco may have been on the move to tie the game in the closing seconds. But with the new foul rules implemented by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), which eliminated the one-and-one foul shot, Burries shot a second free throw and toilet-bowled it in to make the score 66-62. Any chance of Bosco sending the game to overtime was essentially gone when it turned the ball over with 5.6 seconds to go and Williamson canned two free throws with 3.9 seconds to go.

Jack Turner, who made a concession 3-pointer at the buzzer, led St. John Bosco with 18 points. Harrington and junior forward Kade Bonam, both who keyed St. John Bosco’s late run, added 15 and 13 points, respectively.

Burries, who finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, was named Platinum Division Most Valuable Player. For he and Williamson, finding success in a scholastic setting is extra satisfying as their team prepares for a run in the CIF Southern Section open division playoffs because of the circumstances surrounding their 2022-23 sophomore year. Both players were forced to sit out their tenth-grade season following an administrative eligibility issue at their previous school, Poly (Riverside, Calif.).

“Last year changed my outlook and approach to the game,” Burries said. “I learned don’t take the game for granted because you never know when your last game is. This was a great team win, honestly. I feel like we’re only going to get better from here.”

Another team that feels Saturday produced a great win was the Lancers of Carlsbad (Calif.). After all, Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas), its opponent in the National Division title game at the Holiday Classic at Torrey Pines (Calif.), had run roughshod over its first three opponents in the winner’s bracket. The Eagles trailed Carlsbad 55-54 entering the fourth quarter after a big bucket by Colorado-bound big man Doryan Onwuchekwa, but the Lancers used a big fourth quarter to capture the title with a 78-69 victory.

Jake Hall, a 6-foot-4 junior (2025) who is one of the most crafty players in California with his unique offensive package of deliberate moves and clutch shots, was named MVP after scoring 25 points. Senior 6-foot-4 guard Tony Duckett, who was named MVP of the Tarkanian Classic Spalding Division after hitting the championship-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer, was named all-tournament. The talented unsigned senior netted 19 points for Carlsbad (14-2).

Issac Williams, a guard headed to Texas A & M-Corprus Christi, joined teammate Onwuchekwa on the all-tournament team after scoring a team-high 21 points for battle-tested Faith Family (10-9)

Saturday night’s victory gave Carlsbad its first Torrey Pines Holiday Classic title in the National Division since 2001, when it defeated host Torrey Pines in the final. Faith Family advanced to the title game in 2021, but lost a double-digit fourth quarter lead to Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.).

In the second division (Gold) of The Classic at Damien, it was an encore performance for San Ramon Valley (Danville, Calif.) and its best player, junior guard Luke Isaak. In a well-played game versus Dixie (St. George, Utah), San Ramon Valley was trailing 68-66 when Isaak nailed a contested 3-pointer off the glass with seven seconds remaining to propel the Wolves to a 69-68 victory and their second consecutive title in the Gold Division.

Isaak, who helped his college recruiting stock as much as any player in the tournament, hit another big 3-pointer down the stretch, scored nine points in the fourth period and 17 points for the game in earning divisional MVP honors for the second straight time. Senior teammate Seamus Deely, a rugged 6-foot-5 forward, had 19 points and 12 rebounds and was named all-tournament.

Will San Ramon Valley and Isaak 3-peat in 2024?

That’s a ways off but we do know teams such as Roosevelt, Carlsbad, and SRV will be ringing in the New Year’s on the right foot, as will many other divisional champions from the two prestigious Southern California holiday tournaments.

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of He can be reached at [email protected]. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores


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