East County hoopsters named to all-tourney team

Photo by Phillip Brents Valhalla’s Zaki Monqad drives for a lay-in during December’s Frank Pekarek Sweetwater Host Lions Club Classic. The Norsemen continued their holiday hoops travels with a post-Christmas stop at the Aztec Classic at Montgomery High School.

Four East County boys basketball teams participated in the 40th annual Aztec Classic Dec. 27-30 at Montgomery High School: Helix Charter, Valhalla, Foothills Christian and Mt. Miguel high schools.

Helix finished 3-1 with wins over Mt. Miguel (75-23), Southwest El Centro (94-31) and Eastlake (63-56) to meet the tourney host Aztecs in the championship game.

Montgomery edged the Highlanders, 66-64, to win the tournament title.

Helix (8-10) had two players named to the all-tournament team: seniors Bruck Kifleyesus and Ahkwon White.

Both Foothills Christian and Valhalla finished 2-2 in tournament play.

Foothills, overcoming a 0-10 start to the season, opened the Aztec Classic with a key 65-59 win over the Norsemen as Julian Lebel poured in 25 points and teammate Angel Escarcega dropped in 22 points.

Tony Famoyin led Valhalla in the loss with 23 points while Zaki Monqad tacked on 19 points and 11 rebounds.

The Knights also defeated Hilltop, 57-35, while suffering setbacks to Montgomery (97-46) and Eastlake (83-62).

Lebel had 23 points in the win over Hilltop while Andrew Burke had 10 rebounds.

Lebel and Monqad both made the all-tournament team for their respective schools. Lebel leads Foothills with a 24.9 points-per-game average and 9.4 rebounding average. Monqad leads Valhalla with 22.5 scoring average, 6.9 rebounds-per-game, 4.1 assists-per-game and 3.2 steals-per-game.