Troy High overcame a sluggish start to wear down Whittier Christian, 61-49, and win its own tournament Saturday.
The Warriors were down, 18-4, after the first quarter, missing eight of their first nine shots. Troy then stepped up its defensive pressure and took over on the boards.
And it was a complete takeover. All nine Troy players who got into the game got at last one rebound, led by Jeff Jonaitis, who had 11. The Warriors (7-3) finished with a 41-24 rebounding edge and outscored Whittier Christian, 57-31, in the final three quarters.
"I was pleased with our effort after the first quarter," Troy Coach T.J. Hardeman said. "We weren't ready to play in the beginning and Whittier Christian was."
But the Heralds (6-4) could not keep up the energy they brought to the first quarter. Whittier Christian struggled against Troy's full-court pressure, had trouble getting more than one shot on its offensive end, and had even more trouble keeping the Warriors to one shot on defense.
"We ran out of gas after the first quarter," Whittier Christian Coach Robert Aviles said. "I was not unhappy with the effort; I was disappointed at how they controlled the rebounding, especially in the second half."
Troy recovered from its rough beginning, closing to within 28-25 by halftime. Tournament MVP Jerry Inzunza (18 points) gave Troy the lead for good, 32-30, on a 16-foot jumper with just a minute gone in the third quarter.
Inzunza wasn't blazing, making only six of 17 field- goal attempts. But he did raise the Warriors' defensive intensity with five steals.
"We didn't come out with enough emotion at the beginning," Inzunza said. "We know we can't keep doing that if we want to win."
Troy was also better suited to absorb poor shooting by its lead player than Whittier Christian was. Foward-center Jon Stoa, Whittier Christian's leading scorer, hit only three of 17 shots, finishing with 14 points.
Matt Martinez led the Heralds with 18 points, 11 in the first half.
In the third-place game:
Calvary Chapel 65, Paramount 61--Brett Young scored 32 points and had 15 rebounds to lead Calvary Chapel (6-3). Calvary Chapel overcame a five-point deficit in the fourth quarter and made seven of 13 free-throw attempts in that quarter.