The Knights (11-2) claimed the tournament title with a 82-34 win over the Patterson Tigers (11-20) on Saturday, Dec. 29, at Tracy High.
It’s the second year in a row the Knights have won the Hawkins tournament. In the 2011-12 season, they went on to win the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V title and the California Interscholastic Federation Division I championship.
Over four games over the past week in Tracy, Brookside Christian outscored opponents by an average of 58 points — the closest game was the Knight’s 80-35 win over Napa High in the quarterfinals Thursday, Dec. 27.
Brookside then beat host Tracy High 78-15 in the semifinals on Friday, Dec. 28.
The Bulldogs faced an aggressive full-court press in the first half. The Knights went to the half-court press in the third quarter but still forced repeated turnovers.
Each time a Tracy player would dribble, pass or shoot was an opportunity for Brookside to swat the ball away, and the Knights would usually come up with the loose ball.
Tracy senior guard Taylor Juarez said her team got a look at the kind of intensity it takes to play against a state champion.
“They’re aggressive and they have a lot of good athletes,” Juarez said. “It’s kind of hard to play against them, but they’re not unbeatable. You’ve just got to find what makes them tick.”
Senior guards Emily Anchartechahar and Tammy Serrato also jumped into the fray when Brookside tried to force a turnover.
“They were tough, but it was good competition for us,” Serrato said.
She said the Bulldogs will need to bring that intensity to the court against league opponents, especially the defending San Joaquin Athletic Association champions from Lincoln High.
“We needed that,” Serrato said. “It was a wakeup call, and it’s just going to get us better when we play teams like that.”
Sophomore Ariana Vaughn is the lone player on the team who lives in Tracy. She said that her teammates work with the same speed and determination in practice as they do in games.
“It’s been tough, but we come as a family and we push through. We play hard, and we play as a team,” she said.
Vaughn said her team will face strong competition in between Brookside’s Central California Athletic Alliance league games.
“It’s going to get a little tougher so we’re going to have to push harder.”
Brookside coach Que Ngo said that the tournament was a good warm up, preparing the Knights for teams like Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland, Sheldon of Sacramento, St. Mary’s of Albany and Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove.
“This tournament was the first time we’ve had a full squad, so it’s the first time for us to get our chemistry back together,” Ngo said.
It’s the third year Brookside has played in the Hawkins tournament. In 2010, the Knight with a five-player roster, lost their first two games and went 2-2 for the week. This year, the team includes 12 players, mostly from Stockton.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.