After taking a while to get started, the St. Bernard High School boys basketball team began to challenge in the third quarter, but Price High School pulled away to defeat the Vikings 80-60 in the championship of their own tournament, the St. Bernard Holiday Classic, Tuesday, December 21st.

St. Bernard (6-4) once again fell short in trying to take home the Holiday Classic title after losing to Campbell Hall High in the championship game last year.

The Vikings struggled with scoring early in this year’s championship game, picking up only nine first-quarter points.

But the Price Knights (8-1) came out warmed up and ready to battle the Vikings on their home court, putting 20 points on the scoreboard in the first quarter.

The Vikings reached their tournament final after three consecutive victories over Mary Star of the Sea High (58-32), Village Christian High (79-58) and St. Margaret’s High (57-45).

St. Bernard began to improve its effort and climbed behind to 41-31 by halftime with shooting by junior point guard Winsor Williams, who finished with 21 points and made four of his six three-pointers in the first half.

The Vikings finally made a scoring move with over four minutes left in the third quarter to drop the Price lead to three at 47-44, when Williams hit his final three-point shot.

After the Vikings stayed within three points at 50-47 on a basket by junior center John Lucas, the Knights went on a charge in the fourth quarter.

Price stretched its lead after a 10-3 fourth-quarter run and put the game out of reach for St. Bernard by containing the Viking scoring. Senior forward Marcus Palmer led Price with 33 points.

St. Bernard was unable to make the comeback after struggling offensively in the final quarter. Senior guard Chris Ceballos finished the game with seven points for the Vikings.

St. Bernard is playing in the Redondo Beach Pacific Shores Tournament this week, scheduled to end Thursday, December 30th.

In the first round of the Holiday Classic:

The St. Bernard High School Vikings cruised to a 58-32 victory after controlling the entire game against Mary Star of the Sea High School Friday, December 17th.

The Vikings quickly took the lead in the game and never let it go, sailing to a 17-6 first-quarter advantage after junior forward Vince Hill scored six points.

Mary Star (0-7) was missing five players due to illness and injuries, but the Stars had a more difficult obstacle to overcome in the defense of St. Bernard, which forced turnovers all game.

The first Mary Star turnover resulted in the first score for the Vikings after junior guard Winsor Williams, who finished with a team-high 11 points, picked up a steal and made a basket.

“We wanted to focus on the half court man-to-man and we did a pretty good job,” Vikings coach Robert Alaniz said.

“We had good man pressure and I’m happy with that.”

St. Bernard and Mary Star were evenly matched in size, but the Vikings gained the advantage with a strong defensive effort throughout the game that led to scores.

Mary Star center Jeff Schwartz, who finished with 13 points and nine rebounds, closed the St. Bernard gap to 33-19 before halftime after he scored nine points in the second quarter.

The Vikings continued to find success on defense in the second half. Williams grabbed another steal to start the scoring in the third quarter, in which he added seven points.

Senior guard Chris Ceballos and junior center John Lucas, who each finished with seven points, helped bring the Vikings to a commanding 51-25 lead in the third quarter, when Mary Star was held to only six points.

The Stars scored the first four points to open the fourth quarter, but the St. Bernard lead was too much for Mary Star to handle.

“We’re one of the best teams in Division IV-AA and in the league we’re right there too,” Alaniz said. “We’re expecting big things this year.”

In other boys basketball news:

Venice High School is playing this week in the Buchanan/Clovis West Invitational tournament, which ends Thursday, December 29th.

Venice will begin Western League play at home against University High School at 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 12th.

Westchester High School also did not play last week.

The Comets (3-1) traveled to Houston to play this week in the National Invitational tournament, scheduled from Tuesday to Thursday, December 28th to December 30th.

Western League play begins for Westchester at home against Palisades High School at 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 12th.

Santa Monica High School (6-2) traveled to Santa Barbara this week to play in the Santa Barbara Holiday Classic, scheduled from Monday to Wednesday, December 27th to December 29th.

Ocean League play begins for Santa Monica at home against Morningside High Wednesday, January 12th.

St. Monica High School was ahead by seven points at halftime, but the Mariners couldn’t hold on to their lead and lost 63-59 to San Marino High in the championship game of the Salesian Tournament Friday, December 17th.

The Mariners (3-4) begin Camino Real League play at home against Cathedral High School at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 12th.

In girls basketball games:

Santa Monica High School stood strong against West Torrance High, but the Vikings fell short in overtime and lost 61-53 Thursday, December 16th.

Senior guard Amanda McGrew led the Vikings (6-3) with 15 points, and senior center Rebecca Frank added ten points.

Santa Monica girls are playing in the Holiday Hoopfest tournament this week, scheduled from Wednesday to Friday, December 29th to December 31st.

The St. Monica High School Mariners were in control of the game against St. Genevieve High by halftime, and went on to dominate with a 60-17 victory in the first round of the Providence Tournament Monday, December 20th.

The Mariners (5-2) took a 43-14 halftime lead after three starters put up big numbers. Guard Tatiana Moger had 15 points, wing Rudee Bagsby scored 12 points and post Kalia Williams added 11 points, all in the first half.

The St. Bernard High School Vikings overpowered host Bishop Conaty-Loretto High for a 27-3 lead by halftime, before cruising to a 48-18 win Monday, December 20th.

Jamie Lagaux led the Vikings (4-6) with nine points, and Diamond Lee picked up seven points and 12 rebounds in the victory.

St. Bernard will next play at home against Beverly Hills High School Monday, January 3rd.

Venice High School lost its first game of the season after a 70-35 defeat to Stockdale High School in the first round of the Nike Tournament of Champions in Mississippi Monday, December 20th.

The Gondoliers (3-1) played in the Nike Tournament Thursday, December 23rd, and the Roosevelt Tournament Tuesday, December 28th.

Westchester High School (0-1) played in the Chino Hills Tournament, scheduled from Monday to Wednesday, December 27th to December 29th.