UCLA-bound point guard Jaylen Hands smashed the individual tournament scoring record at the UA Holiday Classic at Torrey Pines, Calif. by scoring 38 points for Foothills Christian (El Cajon, Calif.) in its 61-57 National Division title game victory over St. John’s (Washington, D.C.). Hands netted 180 points to smash the tourney record of 1995 high school All-American and former NBA guard Stephon Marbury (152) set in December 1994. Hands broke the mark, but was more satisfied with his team getting the victory. FAB 50 No. 5 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) also drops its first game of the season at the Les Schwab Invitational in Oregon to No. 24 Nathan Hale (Seattle, Wash.), while No. 10 Chino Hills (Calif.) extended its winning streak to 51 games.
All-American guard Jaylen Hands needed only 11 points to break the UA Holiday Classic tournament individual scoring record of former Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.) All-American Stephon Marbury in the title game of this year’s event versus a tough St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) team. Hands would have been satisfied to score 10 points — provided his Foothills Christian (El Cajon, Calif.) club won the tournament championship.
As it turns out, Foothills Christian is best when Hands has the ball in his hands and is looking to score and create for others with his drive-and-find game. That was the case for the Knights in the second half, after the score was tied 24-24 at halftime, as Hands netted 16 points in the third quarter and 10 points in the final period to lift Foothills Christian to a 61-57 win. Hands finished with 38 points and made two free throws with 8.4 seconds to seal the win.
The Knights are the first San Diego Section to win the National Division since 2004 when Steele Canyon (Spring Valley, Calif.) knocked of preseason FAB 50 No. 1 St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) in the title game. That Steele Canyon team was coached by Brad Leaf, Foothills Christian’s current coach who wasn’t in attendance for the championship game.
Marbury scored 152 points in five tournament games for a Lincoln club that suffered its first loss of the season 92-77 to a Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) club that eventually won the CIF Division I state championship and finished No. 3 in the National Prep Poll/FAB 50. Lincoln eventually won the New York Federation Class A title and finished No. 15.
Marbury averaged 30.4 points and seven assists per game back in 1994 and had 39 points and eight 3-pointers in the title game loss to Mater Dei. Hands scored his 38 points on 8-of-14 2-point field goals, 3-of-8 3-point and 13-16 free throws versus St. John’s to go along with six rebounds and four assists. He had 42 points in the 81-69 semifinal win over third place finisher St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio), had 34 vs. Orange Lutheran (Orange, Calif.) in the quarterfinals, 33 in the opening round win over Calvert Hall (Baltimore, Md.) and 35 in the out-of-bracket loss to St. Augustine (San Diego Calif.) to finish with 180 points and a 36 pppg average in five tournament games.
“So much has happened in the past week there’s not really a word to describe it,” Hands said of breaking Marbury’s record. “The biggest thing is that our team won the whole thing and made San Diego proud.
“I had a chance to connect with kids and parents and put a stamp on San Diego and hopefully the rest of the country on who I am as a player.”
St. John’s (10-3) was led in the scoring department by senior guards Reese Mona and Emanuel Hylton with 14 points apiece. Hands was the only double digit scorer for Foothills Christian, which improved to 12-2 on the season.
“Scoring doesn’t matter,” Hands said. “I just score to help our team win…winning is most important. In the loss to St. Augustine, we just played bad. We took that as a learning experience.”
Other FAB 50 Updates
Besides the one to St. Augustine, the other loss for Foothills Christian this season came at the hands of FAB 50 No. 10 Chino Hills (Calif.), which is likely moving up in our next set of national rankings on January 2, 2017 by improving its winning streak to 51 games in capturing the Rancho Mirage Holiday Invitational. The 16-0 Huskies handed Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.) its first loss of the season in their 91-82 championship game victory on Friday night to win that tourney for the second consecutive season.
The question will have to be answered as to which California team will be highest in the next FAB 50 after No. 5 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) fell to No. 24 Nathan Hale (Seattle, Wash.) 67-65 in the title game of the prestigious Les Schwab Invitational in Portland, Ore. Sierra Canyon previously knocked off No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), but Oak Hill has since dropped a second contest to No. 19 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.). Leading Mr. Basketball USA candidate Michael Porter Jr. had 26 points, 15 rebounds and four steals vs. Sierra Canyon and 34 points, 20 rebounds and five assists in the semifinal victory over No. 22 Garfield. Marvin Bagley III went for 22 points and 10 rebounds for Sierra Canyon in the loss to Hale.
Preseason state No. 1 and current FAB 50 No. 9 Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) is now 12-1 on the season after capturing the #D1Bound SoCal Christmas Tournament. Montgomery lost its first game of the season at less than full strength, but it hasn’t played the national schedule Sierra Canyon has and the Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) team it lost to now has five losses itself.