Rio Mesa shoots down Warriors in Bashore final

Carpinteria all-tournament selection Andrew Sova fights for a tough look.

Rio Mesa had been winning with offense and Carpinteria had been winning with defense going into Tuesday’s championship game of the Jim Bashore Holiday Classic. Both teams were undefeated in the tournament as Carpinteria was holding opponents to under 40 points a game on average while the Spartans were averaging more than 70.

Something had to give.

In the end, it was Rio Mesa’s offense which proved true, routing the Warriors 76-48.

Nick Hernandez led the Spartans with 18 points and tournament MVP Joe Soto added 16 to average 21.5 ppg throughout tournament play. Soto also dished out eight assists against the Warriors.

“The nice thing about Soto is he’s a Division-I caliber point guard,” said Spartans head coach Chris Ruffinelli. “And as I’ve always told people, when you have someone like that, he makes you look like a very smart coach.”

Soto and Hernandez both hit two 3-pointers and tallied 10 points each in the first quarter, propelling the Spartans to a 28-7 lead going into the second quarter.

It was the fifth straight win for Rio Mesa (6-4), which averaged over 73 points a game in the tournament.

Tournament MVP Joseph Soto averaged 21.5 points in four tournament games.

“Early on in the season, we lost some relatively close games but we weren’t shooting the ball real well. I told my guys keep shooting, keep shooting, they’re going to fall. And they’re starting to fall,” Ruffenelli said.

Carpinteria had its five-game winning streak snapped and falls to 7-2 on the season.

“They fought throughout the entire game so I’m ok with that,” Warriors coach Johnny Ward said. “I’m not ok with losing, but I’m ok with how they fought.”

The Warriors were led in scoring by Trevor Madden’s 18. Madden and Andrew Sova, who made a game-winning free throw the night before, were named to the all-tournament team for Carpinteria. Sova pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds against Rio Mesa while Paul Aguilar was the Warriors’ second-leading scorer with seven.

“Well hey, I mean, really you can’t argue with second place,” Madden said. “Obviously we wanted to win it all, but as a team we played good.”

After a first quarter filled with turnovers and bad looks at the basket, Carpinteria settled down and played the Spartans mostly even the next two quarters. Rio Mesa upped its lead to 30-7 early in the second quarter before Madden connected on the first of three 3-pointers in the game. Madden scored 13 of his 18 in the first half to carry the Warriors into the break down 45-22.

Rio Mesa applied the pressure after halftime and built a 30-point lead, but Carpinteria responded by closing out the third quarter on a 9-2 run.

Earlier, Cabrillo defeated Fillmore in the third-place game 66-61. Mike Ferruolo led the Conquistadores with 19 points.

TOURNAMENT SCORES

Championship

Rio Mesa 76, Carpinteria 48

3rd Place Game

Cabrillo 66, Fillmore 61

5th Place Game

Santa Ynez 46, Channel Islands 38

7th Place Game

Bishop Diego 44, Hueneme 37

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