Hamilton head coach Doug Harris Huskies didn't get the memo that Christmas was over.
His defense found a few more gifts as the Huskies forced 21 turnovers en route to an opening round 59-53 victory over Marcos de Niza at The ShootOut at McClintock.
Hamilton trailed 18-9 late in the first before it figured things out. The first quarter saw the teams combine for 7 of 11 from beyond the arc.
That cooled off. Specially late for the Padres.
Defensive adjustments included limiting the Padres to Mason Stark. Roshaud Smith lead the way with 20 points on his inside game. But the Huskies' 13 turnovers kept Marcos de Niza in it the entire way as the game window never was greater than 7.
"There is your story right there. We picked it up on that side of the court. Concerned with our offense giving it right back, however. I was pleased defensively," stated Harris
Senior Chance Brewington had 6 of his 10 points in a pivotal stretch that swayed momentum in the second quarter.
The Huskies, who were 6 of 10 on 3-pointers, had a 52-45 advantage before Stark and his Padres cut it to three. That lasted 10 seconds as Smith replied from Nba-range to increase it to 55-49.
An 8-7 defensive battle in the final frame is a little misleading. The teams traded turnovers. Unlike the first 24 minutes the 3-pointers weren't hitting for the Padres as they missed their final 3 to conclude 8 of 15.
As for the brown and gold. They battled yet conceded a first-half double digit lead. Uncharacteristic for them to this point.
Marcos coach David Stark, uncle of Mason Stark, has shifted the focus to the quality of this Holiday Shootout.
"Playing teams like 6A Hamilton and Mesa Dobson will be tremendous test up a level," Coach Stark said. "We welcome that type of exposure for the kids. If we can get a few more guys contributing and stop being sloppy with the ball that'll take pressure off of one-guy."
Hamilton (10-3) gets host McClintock in the Quarterfinals. The Padres (8-5) have Dobson and legendary Head Coach Rick McConnell.
Other Quarterfinals matchups include Chandler vs Mesa, Mountain Pointe vs Shadow Mountain and Arcadia vs Brophy.