Arizona’s Bella Vista claims the crown in South Carolina

Bella Vista (AZ) spoiled St. Frances’ holiday trip to Columbia, SC for the annual Chick-Fil-A Classic, defeating the second-ranked Panthers, 55-46, Saturday evening, to win the National Division championship game.

No St. Frances player scored in the double figures in the contest and most of the Panthers’ stars were held in check. Carlos Alexander led St. Frances (14-3) with nine points.

Bella Vista led 23-22 at halftime and took control of the game early in the second half.

Bella Vista is the first team from Arizona to win a championship in the 17-year tournament. The Bears and Hillcrest Prep were the first two Arizona teams to play in the tournament when they entered this year.

Addison Patterson scored 17 points and had 10 rebounds to lead Bella Vista. He was named to the All-Tournament team. Bella Vista senior and Arizona signee Terry Armstrong was named the National Division Tournament MVP. Armstrong averaged 18.3 points a game.

Adrian Baldwin of St. Frances was named to the All-Tournament team. The Panthers reached the final with a 59-58 win over Memphis East (TN) and a 53-44 win over St. Benedict’s Prep (NJ).