How can a team win the battle but lose the war?
Ask St. Augustine and Foothills Christian.
On the first day of the Under Armour Holiday Classic, St. Augustine defeated Foothills Christian in a showcase game prelude to bracket play and appeared poised to clinch the No. 1 spot in the rankings.
Then, the teams went in different directions.
The Saints lost its opening round National Division game to Heritage Christian, sending the team into the consolation bracket, where it lost the consolation championship to LA power Fairfax, essentially finishing in 10th place in the 16-team field.
Foothills Christian, however, ran the table to win the National Division championship over St. John's College (DC), defeating Calvert Hall, Orange Lutheran and St. Edward to set up the championship bout. Jaylen Hands (above) set the venerable tournament's scoring record in the process, including a 38-point effort in the championship game.
As a result, Foothills Christian will narrowly retain the No. 1 ranking in San Diego, edging out St. Augustine.
Another team making a move up the rankings is Vista, who won the Damien Classic Silver Division championship and defeated Los Altos, Windward, Taft and Ontario Colony in the process. They move up to No. 4, behind No. 3 Torrey Pines, which went 4-1 in the National Division of the Under Armour Holiday Classic to finish in fifth place in the national level tournament bracket.
La Jolla, which beat Torrey Pines a week earlier in the Grossmont Winter Classic, is No. 5, while La Jolla Country Day, which finished 1-4 in the National Division Under Armour Field, is No. 6.
Santa Fe Christian is No. 7 after making it to the championship of the Senator's Division of the Holiday Classic, losing a late lead in the final game to Sonora. Serra, the lone undefeated team in San Diego, is No. 8 after winning the SoCal Prep Holiday Classic.
New entries into the Top 10 are Orange Glen (No. 9) and Rancho Bernardo (No. 10). The Patriots tested themselves with strong nonleague tournaments and made it to the finals of the Rancho Mirage Holiday Invitational's Nike Division, losing a close game to Saddleback Valley Christian. The Broncos, playing the entire season without star junior guard Knox Winkler, won the Mt. Carmel Holiday Classic over West Torrance and defeated previous Top 10 team Helix and Kearny en route to the title.
Foothills Christian (12-2)- Bounced back from a loss against Saints to win the National Division of the Under Armour Holiday Classic.
St. Augustine (11-3)- Won battle vs. Knights in showcase game, but lost “war” by going 2-2 in National Division play at Under Armour.
Torrey Pines (12-3)- Shook off a loss to La Jolla at Grossmont Tournament to go 4-1 in the top division at Under Armour, including big wins over Fairfax and Bishop O’Dowd.
Vista (13-2)- Impressive run at Damien Classic included wins over Taft, Los Altos, Windward and Colony. Only losses are to Torrey Pines (by 8) and Country Day (by 2).
La Jolla (10-1)- Lone loss to early season Top 10 Helix, but a win over Torrey Pines was very impressive.
La Jolla Country Day (9-6)- Buoyed by early season wins over Vista, Rancho Bernardo, Temecula Valley and out of town win over Crean Lutheran
Santa Fe Christian (10-3)- Impressive run to the Senator’s Division title game at Under Armour that ended in a heartbreaking loss to Sonora.
Serra (14-0)- Wins over Helix, Lincoln, San Marcos and El Camino to remain the county’s lone undefeated team.
Orange Glen (7-2)- Strong wins over Los Osos, JSerra Catholic and Mission Viejo, lone losses are to strong opponents, Alemany and Saddleback Valley Christian (championship game of the Rancho Mirage Holiday Invitational)
Rancho Bernardo (8-2)- Mt Carmel Holiday Classic champ has wins over Kearny (2x), LCC and Helix, losses are to Country Day and Vista.
Mater Dei Catholic (8-4)- Third place finish at the Under Armour American Division included wins over Washington power Stanwood, Nor Cal stalwart Bellarmine Prep and Gahr.
Cathedral Catholic (4-7)- Credit the Dons for beating their only SD opponent of the year, a come-from-behind win over Country Day. Tougher schedule than most teams in SD.
Helix (10-4)- Highlanders stemmed slide in Mt Carmel with blowout win over Chatsworth, but wins over La Jolla, Canyon Crest and Patrick Henry keep them from sliding further in rankings.
Poway (10-4)- Titans slide a little after going 2-2 in the American Division of Under Armour. Solid wins over Spanish Springs and Temecula Valley.
La Costa Canyon (11-3)- Solid third place run in the Under Armour Senator’s Division included wins over Cimarron Memorial (NV) and Cienega and a 2OT loss to Sonora.
Patrick Henry (11-3) Earned a split in the Rancho Mirage Nike Division and a third-place finish at Sweetwater.
Mission Bay (11-3)- Lost an earlier head to head to Canyon Crest, but much like Foothills vs Saints debate, won the Governor’s Division title of the Under Armour Holiday Classic.
Canyon Crest (7-2)- The Ravens won the consolation championship of the Governor’s Division, shaking off an early bad loss to Dougherty Valley (6-7). Ravens hold wins over Mission Bay and Helix.
Valhalla (15-2)- Norsemen’s top win is a 2-point win over Mission Bay and a win over a depleted Lincoln team and just won the Montgomery Aztec Holiday over Ramona.
Kearny (5-5)- Komets have given teams ahead of them scares (just ask Torrey Pines and Rancho Bernardo), but loss of Robby Robinson in the Mt Carmel tourney looms large.
Lincoln (10-4)- Hornets have been playing shorthanded all season, so coming out of the nonleague with a 10-4 record is huge moving forward.
Mission Hills (5-5)- Grizzlies have a lot of ground to make up, but start tonight with the arrival of Warren Washington and Ed Fenzi in the lineup.
El Camino (7-6)- Nearly saw themselves in Governor’s Division final against Mission Bay, but lost by 1 against runner-up San Juan Hills.
San Marcos (12-4)- Gaudy win total, but none against the Top 25, although a four-point loss to Rancho Bernardo shows their potential.
Granite Hills (7-3)- Win over Poway stands as the strongest mark on the Eagles resume.
Others: Coronado, Oceanside, Scripps Ranch, Olympian, Carlsbad, Point Loma