Fri, Dec 17 2010 06:41 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
Chuck Vallero has coached at Hilltop High School for 18 years, and the long-time boys basketball coach likes what he sees throughout the South Bay this season.
“We’ve got Carlos Perez back and he has to be considered among the top 25 players in the county and Otay Ranch has Alex Perez back, and I think you have to put him among the top 25 players in the county as well,” Vallero said. “I think overall that it’s an ‘up’ year for basketball in the South Bay.”
Hilltop posted a solid third-place finish in the finals of last Friday’s 28th annual Hilltop tournament. The Lancers finished 3-1 in the eight-team event, with their only loss coming against Rancho Buena Vista, 56-43, on Dec. 9.
RBV finished runner-up to North County rival Torrey Pines, 57-55, in the tourney finals.
Hilltop bested San Diego, 60-46, in one of three preliminary consolation match-ups.
The Lancers also defeated Patrick Henry (48-24 on Dec. 3) and Helix (52-40 on Dec. 4).
Vallero used the word “excellent” to describe this year’s tournament field.
“This is one of the most balanced fields we’ve had,” the HHS hoops coach said.
This year’s Hilltop tournament featured a mix of teams from around the county: two from South County (the host Lancers and Mar Vista Mariners), three from North County (RBV, Torrey Pines and Westview Wolverines), two from the City Conference (Patrick Henry Patriots and San Diego Cavers) and one from East County (Helix Highlanders).
Helix defeated Patrick Henry, 41-29, while Westview recorded a 70-46 win against Mar Vista in last Friday’s two other consolation games.
Torrey Pines’ Joe Rahon earned tournament MVP honors.
Perez keyed Hilltop with 20 points in the win over San Diego. The Lancers have two impact players from the school’s CIF playoff football team: quarterback Omar Hernandez and receiver Mark McGuire.
“Overall, this is one of the tallest teams we’ve had,” Vallero said. “The season’s early. We’re seeing how fast the team can jell together.”
Vallero said the victory over the Highlanders was an early season confidence boost.
“Helix has the tendency to improve as the season goes on but any time you can beat a Helix team, it can only help, especially at seeding time,” Vallero said.
Hoover, led by MVP Angelo Chol, captured the championship title of the Eastlake Tip-off Classic, which also wrapped up last weekend.
El Camino won the Olympian holiday tournament. In final round games, Olympian split a pair of contests, defeating Castle Park (59-46) while falling to Mater Dei Catholic (46-43).
Otay Ranch’s Alex Perez earned selection to the Wolfpack Horsman all-tournament team. Perez dropped in 29 points in a 75-65 triple overtime victory over Scripps Ranch to wrap up tourney play.
© 2009 The Star-News