The Irvine Valley men's basketball coaching staff learned a lot about its team in this weekend's Irvine Valley Classic tournament.
The Lasers dropped their opening game to Long Beach City, but bounced back with wins over two tough teams to take the consolation title.
Irvine Valley played its best game of the season so far to top Canyons, 67-58, to win the consolation bracket on Saturday.
The Lasers were lights out in the first half, taking a 36-22 lead. IVC made 7 of 11 three-pointers, led by three from freshman guard Shaquille Hunter.
IVC led by as many as 19 points in the second half, but Canyons battled back after a series of three-pointers and tied the game at 53-53 with 5:11 left.
The Lasers responded with a three-pointer by Hunter to make it 56-53 and then Hunter made a lay-up was fouled and sank the free throw to put IVC ahead, 59-55, with 2:59 to go.
Canyons didn't get any closer the rest of the way.
"It was a big-time win," IVC associate head coach Andrew Alhadeff said. "It was a great team effort, especially on defense. We held them to 21 percent shooting in the first half, which set the tone and 29 percent for the game. Canyons had two Division I bounce-backs and a lot of talented players. Our guys really stepped up."
Irvine Valley was led by Hunter's 25 points. He made five three-pointers and also added two assists and two blocks. Sophomore forward Zach Mills had 15 points and seven rebounds and sophomore forward Michael Bolden added 14 points and five rebounds for IVC, which improved its record to 3-1 on the season.
Mills and Hunter were named to the all-tournament team for the Lasers.
Canyons was paced by 16 points from Temjae Singleton and 14 points from Jaylen Bland.
On Friday, Irvine Valley knocked off Santa Monica, 72-63, behind a career-high 30 points from Mills.
Mills was 11 of 17 from the floor, 3 of 3 on three-pointers and 5 of 5 from the free throw line. He added seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Freshman guard Dathon Spencer was a spark off the bench with 14 points and three steals, Bolden had 13 points and eight rebounds and sophomore guard James Bailey led the team with nine assists.
In the rest of the games on the tournament's final day on Saturday -
Long Beach City defeated Cuyamaca, 69-66, in overtime in the third-place game.
Tyler Tuilau had 20 points and 13 rebounds, Rueben Strickland finished with 16 points and nine rebounds and Ashton Edwards, who was named to the all-tournament team, finished with 15 points, five rebounds and six assists to lead Long Beach City.
Cuyamaca got 16 points and 11 rebounds from Christian Hemmingsen, 15 points and three blocks from Armon Worrell and 12 points and four assists from Keko Moore.
Cuyamaca was close even though it was missing leading scorer Harry Brazelton, who was out with an injury.
And Ventura claimed the championship with a 81-72 victory over Imperial Valley.
Imperial Valley played valiantly after having to win a double-overtime thriller over Long Beach City last night to get into the title game.
But Ventura had a little too much.
Ventura was paced by Jaylin Airington, who finished with 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Ivan Dooley made five three-pointers and finished with 21 points. And Zalmico Harmon added 19 points and four assists.
Dooley and Joseph Soto were named to the all-tournament team for Ventura, while Harmon was picked as the MVP.
Imperial Valley got 20 points from Jumah Sutton, 17 points and 10 rebounds from LaSalle Wright and 12 points from Miles Hamilton.
Sutton and Wright were chosen to the all-tournament team.
Final day scores
Irvine Valley def. Canyons, 67-58 (consolation title game) box score
Long Beach City def. Cuyamaca, 69-66 OT (3rd place game) box score
Ventura def. Imperial Valley, 81-72 (championship game) box score
Zach Mills - Irvine Valley
Michael Bolden - Irvine Valley
Ahston Edwards - Long Beach City
Jumah Sutton - Imperial Valley
LaSalle Wright - Imperial Valley
Joseph Soto - Ventura
Ivan Dooley - Ventura
MVP - Zalmico Harmon - Ventura