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TAMPA — As the fourth annual Alonso Holiday Classic winds down, the host Ravens seek their first title to go along with their first opening-round win.
Alonso, which fell into the loser’s bracket in the first three tournaments, defeated Wesley Chapel 50-48 in Wednesday’s semifinal to advance to today’s championship game at 5:30 p.m. The Ravens will play Wiregrass Ranch, which earned a 61-56 comeback win over Spoto in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
“We’ve won some in the consolations, but we hadn’t won in the first round,” Alonso coach Todd Price said. “It’s really big. I think it means a whole lot to the kids.”
Malachi Christopher scored a game-high 26, including five 3-pointers, to lead the Ravens, who three times led by 10.
Christian Parra paced the Wesley Chapel offense with 15 points.
Wiregrass got caught up in a seesaw battle for the second straight game. The Bulls, who led by eight points early, trailed by four at halftime and headed into the final quarter behind 52-46. Wiregrass outscored Spoto 16-4 in the fourth quarter.
After two lead changes, the Bulls went ahead for good on a Rico Kerney layup for a 57-56 advantage. Antwan Prince and Tanner Carey added layups to account for the final margin.
“Sometimes they’ve got to figure it out on their own,” Wiregrass coach Jeremy Calzone said. “I’ve got to give them credit, in the fourth quarter they did.”
In Wednesday’s other games, Riverview beat Armwood 69-52 and Gaither topped Leto 56-44. Gaither plays Riverview today at 2 p.m. and the Spoto-Wesley Chapel game is at 3:45 p.m.