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Dominic Christian’s sharp shooting leads Hales to McDipper title

On page 29 of the 42nd annual McDipper Holiday Tournament program there is a list of 41 players and at the top it reads “Individual Stars”. Three of those players are from Hales Franciscan, but not one is named Dominic Christian.

Tuesday during the title game against host Rich South, the senior guard was the individual star on the court in leading his team to their fourth Dipper title with a 68-51 win. Christian’s seven three-pointers were a tournament record and it also earned him the Most Valuable Player award.

“My teammates kept feeding me (the ball) and I never thought it was going to be like this,” said Christian, who is the quarterback on the football team but will play wide-receiver at Nevada. “This is a blessing because basketball is my first love.”

It was the first crown for the Spartans (13-1) since 2009. The Stars (8-3) made its’ first title appearance since 1997 and won their last championship in 1993.

Christian led all scorers with 26 points. Every time the Stars cut into the lead, Christian came up with an answer. The Stars trailed 17-7 after one quarter and closed to within 26-20, but Christian answered with his second three-pointer.

The Stars then cut the lead to 29-25 and again, Christian answered with his third three-pointer. The Spartans led 35-27 at the half. That lead became 44-27 during a 9-0 run to start the third-quarter. Christian added seven points — two more three-pointers — during the run.

“Who shoots like that in the fourth game of a tournament like this,” Rich South coach Scot Ritter asked. “We wanted to stop their penetration and wanted to make them shoot from the perimeter and they ended up shooting us out of our plan.

“We were proud to be here and I’m proud of the guys.”

Johnny Fox was the only other player in double-figures for the Spartans with 12 points. Nick Barnes added nine. Shakur Jinad, who was ejected from the quarterfinal game and had to sit the semifinal, added 22 points to lead the Stars. Teammate Jeremy Ruffin added 13.

The Spartans led 47-37 after three and held at least an 11-point lead in the fourth.

“I did not know he broke the record — wow,” Hales coach Gary London said. “This was his breakout game.”

Why wasn’t he on Page 29?

“That just shows you how balanced our team is, we just have a lot of good players,” London said.