Story and photo by Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
College of the Canyons Men’s Basketball emerged as champions of the 32nd Annual Cougar Holiday Classic after a two-day run in which the Cougs knocked off Mt. San Antonio and Orange Coast College to claim the tourney title for the first time since 2016.
Canyons (9-5) has now won five straight contests to close out its non-conference schedule. The Cougars also previously won the Clash at Canyons tourney title in November.
COC sophomore Andrew Henderson was named the Most Outstanding Player of the four-team Cougar Holiday Classic after averaging 24.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists during the two-game run. Henderson’s 27 points vs. Mt. SAC in the opener led all scorers while his 22 point and eight assist performance vs. Orange Coast were key to the Cougars’ victory.
Sophomore Dylan Griffin was also named to the All-Tournament team after making his impact felt on both ends of the court through the duration of both games.
In the opener vs. Mt. SAC (8-7) the Cougars were able to hold onto to a 10-point halftime lead for an eventual 77-69 final score. Canyons combined to shoot better than 40 percent from the field led by Henderson (8-of-14) and Jonah El-Farra (7-of-9). Canyons also converted on 18-of-21 from the foul line, good for just under 86 percent.
El-Farra finished the game with 14 points and eight rebounds. Quincy Arms was next with 11 points.
Mt. SAC, which was being led by former COC assistant coach Michael Fenison, saw four starters score in double figures led by 20 from Jay Milner. The Mounties received just seven bench points in the game.
The Mounties went on to defeat L.A. Trade Tech College 65-48 in Thursday’s consolation game. Milner was named the Mt. SAC representative to the All-Tournament team. Devon Jainlett earned the same honors for LATT.
Top Performers vs. Mt. SAC — W-77-69
Quincy Arms – 21 min, 11 pts, rebound.
Jonah El-Farra – 25 min, 14 pts, 8 rebs, assist, 7-of-9 shooting.
Andrew Henderson – 25 min, 27 pts, 8 rebs, assist, stl, block, 8-of-14 shooting.
Dylan Griffin – 26 min, 5 pts, 5 rebs, 5 assists, stl.
On day two, Canyons was able to hang on for a 101-93 victory over Orange Coast (10-4) after taking an 18-point lead into the halftime locker room.
The Pirates outscored Canyons 59-49 in the second half despite the Cougars scoring better than 57 percent down the stretch. COC had a distinct advantage off the glass, winning the rebounding battle 49-26.
The Cougars committed 25 turnovers in the game, with 13 coming in the second half, to let the Pirates stay in the game. Jydan Hall poured in 28 points for the Pirates after going 12-of-15 from the charity stripe to earn All-Tournament team honors.
Henderson again led the Cougars with 22 points and eight assists to go with three rebounds, a block and two steals.
Dillon Barrientos ended with 17 points on a 7-of-10 shooting night and El-Farra added 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists to the winning effort. Mason Savery chipped in with 12 points and four boards.
The tourney victory marked the first time since 2016 Canyons had won the Cougar Holiday Classic.
Top Performers vs. Orange Coast — W-101-93
Dillon Barrientos – 27 min, 17 pts, rebound, 3 assists, stl, 7-of-10 shooting.
Jonah El-Farra – 36 min, 15 pts, 9 rebs, 4 assists, stl, 5-of-7 shooting.
Jimmy Galgano – 21 min, 13 pts, 7 rebs, assist, stl, block.
Andrew Henderson – 25 min, 22 pts, 3 rebs, 8 assists, 2 stl, block.
Mason Savery – 13 min, 12 pts, 4 rebs, assist.
Canyons will begin play vs. Western State Conference, South Division opponents on Wednesday, Jan. 4, when the Cougars host L.A. Valley College for a 7 p.m. tip off.
The conference schedule continues with a road trip to Bakersfield College at 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7.
All COC home games will be live streamed to fans free of charge via YouTube on the Cougars Sports Network.
Stay up to date on all this season’s action by visiting the College of the Canyons Athletic department and visiting on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.