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Falcons win Tournament of Champions

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Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2019 11:26 am

LOS FRESNOS — Ricky Altamirano scored 14 points and Gerry Martinez added 12 points for Los Fresnos on his way to being named the Tournament of Champions’ most valuable player, as the Falcons defeated San Antonio Reagan 55-45 on Saturday at the Los Fresnos United basketball dome.

Earlier, in their semifinal, the Falcons dispatched Houston Strake Jesuit 59-35, and Martinez scored 24 points to lead the home team. Altamirano and Elian Gonzalez were named to the all-tournament team for Los Fresnos.

“It’s no secret, everybody knows Gerry can score the basketball,” Los Fresnos coach Marco Hinojosa said. “He’s a natural-born killer. He’s got ice in his veins. He loves the big stage.”

Hinojosa noted that Reagan paid special attention to the freshman sharpshooter and attempted to deny him the ball at every opportunity, with little success.

Reagan reached the title game with a 57-52 win over Euless Trinity. The Rattlers opened game on 5-0 run, which was broken after a steal and split trip to the line by Los Fresnos’ Altamirano. The Falcons trailed 15-9 after the first quarter, as Reagan’s Keith Davis made two 3-pointers for six of his seven points in the period.

Elian Gonzalez scored Los Fresnos’ first five points of the second quarter, including a 3 that made the score 15-14 in favor of Reagan at the 7:02 mark and ignited the home crowd.

Martinez drew a shooting foul, and made a layup and the ensuing free throw to give Los Fresnos its first lead of the night, 17-15, with 5:58 to play in the second quarter. The Rattlers never led again, and the Falcons opened a 26-19 lead at the end of the first half as Altamirano and Martinez combined for 12 points to outscore Reagan 17-4 in the period.

“My teammates do a really good job of respecting me and getting me the ball as a freshman,” Martinez said. “I’m just trying to play my hardest for these seniors.”

Reagan climbed back into striking distance during the second half, as center Will Karsten tacked on six of his 10 points in the third quarter and a last-second bucket from Zach Lee kept the Rattlers within three points at 35-32 with eight minutes to go in the game.

During the fourth quarter, the Falcons went 11-for-15 from the free-throw line. After Tony Aldrighetti’s second perfect trip to the line, Los Fresnos led by 12 with less than three and a half minutes left. Aldrighetti and Luis Gonzalez each had five points in the fourth quarter, and Elian Gonzalez had six for the Falcons.

Los Fresnos’ consistency from the line proved to be a difference-maker, as the Issac Ferguson hit two treys for Reagan and the Rattlers rallied back to within seven points. But Reagan was unable to come up with a turnover or a stop during the final minute, and resorted to deciding the game at the foul line.

The Falcons went 4-0 during the three-day tournament to earn the right to take home the first-place trophy on their home floor, and they relied on contributions from different players to clinch each victory.

“Whoever has the hot hand, we give them the ball,” Altamirano said. “That’s how we play, so we just take advantage of what’s going on at the moment.

“We were very humbled throughout (the tournament). We just knew we had to come in and play our style of ball. It was fun to watch us play and for us to play together. I enjoyed every second of it.”

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