Bellevue High boys take MaxPreps Holiday Classic crown with championship win

Some Bellevue area basketball teams that left the area to play in holiday tournaments found mixed results, but one team showed it was ready to roll against the nation’s toughest competition.

Other area teams struggle with out-of-state competition

Some Bellevue area basketball teams that left the area to play in holiday tournaments found mixed results, but one team showed it was ready to roll against the nation’s toughest competition.

The Bellevue High boys team made its presence known with a tournament victory at the MaxPreps Holiday Classic at Torrey Pines High School in San Diego.

The Wolverines used 58-54 come-from-behind victory over Eisenhower High School of Rialto, Calif., to capture the crown in a tournament featuring some of the nations top prospects and teams.

Bellevue trailed 44-37 heading into the fourth quarter of a back and forth game before Matt Olson hit two three-pointers to help Bellevue regain the lead.

“Our guys just dug in and kept playing hard,” said Bellevue coach Chris O’Connor. “Our shot selection down the stretch there was real solid.”

Tournament MVP Aaron Bright scored 18 points in the win, leading all scorers.

“He just keeps growing and growing as a point guard,” O’Connor said. “He did a great job of picking his spots and finding the post guys inside for easy buckets.”

Alex Schrempf added 15 points in the victory, while Colton Christian added 13 as Bellevue became the first Washington team to win the tournament.

“We definitely grew as a team down here and got closer,” O’Connor said. “And that was really our point of emphasis.”

The Wolverines beat Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland 60-47 on Dec. 29 to reach the championship game. Bright exploded in the win, scoring 26 points and dishing out eight assists. Bellevue rebounded from a 18-9 deficit early in the in the win over Bishop O’Dowd, who had beaten defending national champion St. Anthony of Jersey City, N.J., and Newark (N.J.) Memorial earlier in the tournament.

Bellevue’s two opening round games included a 74-57 win over Chrisman High School of Independence, Mo., where three players scored over 15 points, as Schrempf had 21, Christian scored 18 and Bright added 16.

The Wolverines

followed up that win with a 57-48 victory over Windward High School of Los Angeles. Christian led all scorers with 21 points and Bellevue held 6-10 UCLA recruit Anthony Stover to only four points. Windward was led by Michigan-signee Darius Morris’ 18 points.

Other local teams didn’t fare as well in traveling competition.

The Sammamish boys team was 1-1 in the Estancia Coast Classic in Costa Mesa, Calif., as of Dec. 31. The Totems lost 63-39 to Allso Niguel of Allso Viejo, Calif., on Dec. 26. Sammamish led 13-11 after the first quarter but Allso Niguel outscored the Totems 44-14 in the second and third quarters. David Wink led Sammamish with 11 points.

The Totems defeated Edison of California 60-56 the next day, getting 16 points from Anthony Do. Daniel Wruble added 13 points and Wink had 11 in the win.

The Bellevue Christian boys basketball team got off to a rocky start at the Surf ‘N Slam Hoop Classic in San Diego on Dec. 27, losing to Colony High School of Palmer Alaska 47-42, but rebounded to defeat St. Helens of Ore., 53-49.

The Bellevue girls basketball team, also at the Surf ‘N Slam Classic, likewise got off to a rough start, falling to St. Joseph High School of Calif., 59-43 and Lodi of Calif., 50-44.

The Wolverines rallied to beat Sonoma Valley of Calif, 60-45 on Dec. 30. Emilie Gilbert led Bellevue with 15 points.

Joel Willits can be reached at 425-454-5045 or at jwillits@bellevuenews.us.