TAMPA — The fourth annual Alonso Holiday Classic proved to be the most rewarding for the host team with the Ravens not only making it to the championship game for the first time, but winning it.
Alonso went back and forth with Wiregrass Ranch in Thursday’s final before snapping a tie at 50 with a 12-0 run in a 63-54 win.
Wesley Chapel exploded for 31 points in the third quarter in a 68-51 comeback win over Spoto to take third place, and Riverview won the other consolation game 63-54 over Gaither.
“It’s special. I feel good for the kids,” Alonso coach Todd Price said.
Malachi Christopher, the tournament’s most valuable player, started and capped Alonso’s 12-0 run with a 3-pointer and a layup. He finished with 17 points, second only to teammate Bassel Harfouch, who scored a game-high 25 and also made the all-tournament team.
“We had to play together and stay strong,” said Christopher, who scored 25 a night earlier in a semifinal win over Wesley Chapel.
Alonso, which overcame a 32-25 halftime deficit, battled Wiregrass in a tight game that featured seven ties. Price attributed his team’s late run to keeping its composure.
“We had been in a few tight games and I think we learned from that,” he said.
Tanner Carey and Antwan Prince each scored 14 for Wiregrass.
In the third-place game, Wesley Chapel erased a 29-20 halftime deficit by outscoring Spoto 31-9 in the third quarter.
“I’ve been coaching basketball for over 20 years and I don’t think I’ve ever had a 31-point quarter,” Wesley Chapel coach Doug Greseth said.
Wesley Chapel’s Erik Thomas had a game-high 25 points.
The all-tournament team also included: Christian Parra (Wesley Chapel), Evans Dasque (Riverview), Carey (Wiregrass Ranch) and Chad Hannah (Gaither).