- Jodie Wagner Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
For the first time in four years, the D-Hop Holiday Tournament championship has gone to a Broward County team.
Plantation-American Heritage hit from the outside early and often Friday night, and pulled away late to defeat Santaluces 65-54 in the championship game at Palm Beach Lakes.
Damari Monsanto scored a game-high 32 points, and Samir Stewart added 14 for the Patriots, who improved to 9-2 with the win. The Chiefs, who hadn’t lost since Dec. 8, dropped to 8-2.
The last D-Hop winner from Broward County was Fort Lauderdale-Boyd Anderson in 2013. The three previous winners were Wellington, Grandview Prep and Palm Beach Lakes.
“We ran out of steam,” said Santaluces coach Reggie Dixon, whose team was outscored 19-6 in the fourth quarter. “We stopped executing, and they executed their game.”
Both teams came out shooting to open the game, combining for seven 3-pointers – three from Mosanto, three from the Chiefs’ Chance Dixon and one from Santaluces’ Tyler Miller.
Monsanto, often shooting from way outside, had 13 of American Heritage’s 17 first-quarter points, and Dixon had 9.
The pair traded shots in what was a tight opening quarter, with the game knotted five times. The quarter ended in a 17-17 tie.
The Patriots – and Monsanto – continued to shoot well from the outside in the second quarter, knocking down four more 3-pointers by the halfway point and opening a 30-25 lead.
Santaluces struggled to counter, from the field or the free-throw line.
Still, the Patriots weren’t able to pull away. American Heritage led 35-29 at halftime, with Monsanto leading the way with 19 points.
Santaluces rallied to open the second half, and took a 41-39 lead on a Justin Nichelson 3-pointer with 3:50 left in the third quarter.
Monsanto, though, helped bring the Patriots back. He followed his sixth 3-pointer with a pair of free throws, and American Heritage retook the lead in the waning minutes of the quarter.
The Chiefs grabbed it back as time expired, with a Miller layup at the buzzer putting Santaluces ahead 48-46.
American Heritage went back ahead early in the final quarter, and pulled away for the win.
Miller led Santaluces with 17 points, and Dixon added 11.
Prior to the championship game, Palm Beach Lakes defeated Benjamin 89-77 to place third in the six-team tournament. The Bucs finished fourth, John I. Leonard was fifth and Glades Central was sixth.
In other boys basketball action Friday night:
Forest Hill 82, Seminole Ridge 58: Philip Lyttle scored 10 points and pulled down 10 rebounds and Elliot Denson added eight points, nine rebounds, and six steals as the Falcons (9-0) got past the Hawks at the Palm Beach Shoot Out Tournament in West Palm Beach.
Spanish River 77, Village Academy 57: Jashone Anderson put up 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists and Malacai Davis added 12 points and 12 rebound as the Sharks (7-2) defeated the Tigers at the Palm Beach Shoot Out Tournament in West Palm Beach.
Dwyer 56, Iona (N.Y.) 51: Miles Coleman scored 20 points and Giovanni Quince added nine rebounds to lead the Panthers (12-0) past Iona at the Palm Beach Shoot Out Tournament in West Palm Beach.
Wellington 66, Saint John Paul II 59: Bryan Williams scored 23 points, Jonathan Philistine had 14 points and eight rebounds, and Linton Brown contributed 12 points as the Wolverines (10-0) cruised past the Eagles at the Palm Beach Shootout Tournament in West Palm Beach. David Curley scored 15 points for the Eagles.
San Marcos (Calif.) 52, Cardinal Newman 47: Emmanuel Onuama led the Crusaders with 12 points and 12 rebounds and Jeremy Golson added 11 points, eight rebounds, and seven steals, but they fell to San Marcos at the KSA Basketball Tournament in Orlando.