With a lot of height and talent returning from last season's Central Coast Section Division IV championship team, the Sacred Heart Prep boys' basketball team appeared destined to start the 2010-11 season with a long winning streak.
That didn't happen, though, as the Gators started out 4-2. Since then, however, the Gators have played like they were expected to and run off four straight victories.
Three of those triumphs came this week at the San Diego Surf 'N Slam tournament at Scripps Ranch High, where the Gators cruised to the championship on Thursday with a 73-50 domination of Shorewood (Washington).
Senior twins Will and Reed McConnell combined for 42 points and junior brother Cole added eight as the family trio equaled Shorewood's team effort. The Gators (8-2), however, trailed by two after one quarter before pulling away over the next two quarters.
Will McConnell led the way with 22 points and finished the three-game tourney with 59 points. Reed added 20 in the finale and totaled 47 in the three wins while Cole added 23 points.
Sacred Heart Prep defeated St. Stephens (Texas) in the semifinals, 60-41, after opening the tourney with a 52-42 victory over host Scripps Ranch.
The Gators made 23 three-pointers in the tournament and made 47 of 63 from the free-throw line while making a solid tuneup for next week's start of the West Bay Athletic League season.
Sacred Heart Prep will return to action on Tuesday (7:30 p.m.) to host Crystal Springs-Uplands to begin the 14-game WBAL season.
At the Chaminade Christmas Classic, Menlo got off to a great start and led by 11 after one quarter, but the Knights (4-5) were limited to just 10 second-half points and dropped a 45-44 decision to Dominguez (Compton) in the fifth-place game on Thursday in West Hills.
Richard Harris led all scorers with 15 points while Menlo teammate Jonny Halprin added 11. The Knights' Mac Osborne had nine points and six rebounds, with his trio of three-pointers giving him 11 -- the most in the tourney.
Menlo will open the WBAL season on Wednesday against visiting King's Academy at 7:30 p.m.
At the St. Francis Holiday Basketball Classic, Palo Alto suffered through a cold spell in the second quarter and that ultimately cost the Vikings in a 78-68 loss to Deer Valley in the consolation finals on Thursday.
After grabbing a 20-17 first-quarter lead, the Vikings (6-5) were outscored by 24-7 in the second and never could make up the difference. Max Schmarzo hit five 3-pointers for 15 points while Israel Hakim also tallied 15 points to lead Paly.
At the Tim Cole Classic in Fremont, Menlo-Atherton (5-7) closed out a disappointing 0-3 performance with a 56-44 loss to Foothill (Pleasanton) on Thursday. Myles Brewer was the lone M-A player in double figures with 11 points as the Bears managed just 21 points in the first three quarters.
In nonleague action, Gunn closed 2010 with a 48-34 nonleague victory over visiting Lowell (San Francisco) on Thursday. Senior Anthony Cannon tallied 17 points to lead the Titans (8-4).
Pinewood (9-2) finished off a three-game sweep in the Leo LaRocca Sand Dune Classic by handing host St. Ignatius a 55-41 loss on Thursday night. Senior Hailie Eackles poured in 25 points to pace the Panthers to their sixth straight victory.
On the Big Island of Hawaii, Menlo was no match for nationally No. 18-ranked Konaweana High and dropped an 82-28 nonleague decision to wrap up a three-game tour of the island on Thursday.
Konaweana jumped out early in the first quarter with a 28-9 run on its way to the easy victory. Menlo (8-3) was led by Drew Edelman and Maddie Price with 12 points and eight points, respectively. Edelman led with eight rebounds and Price led with three assists. Menlo will host Woodside in a nonleague game on Jan. 4 before entering West Bay Athletic League play.
Sacred Heart Prep wound up fourth at the annual Excalibur Tournament following a 1-0 overtime loss to top-seeded Santa Margarita on Thursday at Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo. Earlier in the day, the Gators were beaten by Los Alamitos in the semifinals.