There was no way the Stockdale boys basketball team wanted to get into a half-court game against East and its trio of tall front-court players.
Instead, the Mustangs unleashed their full-court pressure defense on the Blades and turned the championship game of the East Bakersfield High Holiday Classic into a 92-foot-long battle.
That strategy paid off handsomely for Stockdale, which beat the Blades 63-60 Saturday.
"They're so much bigger than us so we had to go out and extend our defense, which isn't something we do a lot," Stockdale coach Dave Purdy said. "But we had to do that just to prevent them from getting in the half-court and killing us on the boards."
Christian Bayne, the tournament's MVP, scored 36 points without making a single 3-point goal for the Mustangs (4-0).
"Tough game," Bayne said. "Emotional. We just battled as a team. We fought. That's our motto, keep together and win the game."
Trailing 38-36 early in the third quarter, Stockdale went on a 13-0 run that was keyed by its pressure defense.
The Blades committed eight turnovers in the pivotal third quarter after recording just seven in the first half.
East rallied from an 11-point deficit to tie it on Davonte Johnson's 3-pointer from the left wing with 6:30 remaining.
But 22 seconds later, Chase Allmon scored inside off a beautiful feed from Bayne, starting a 6-0 spurt that gave Stockdale the lead for good.
"You're always happy when you can beat a Garces and an East Bakersfield in the same season," Purdy said.
"If you do that you know you're on the right track. It was a good tournament for us and that was a great championship game."
East was led in scoring by two of its big men as Lamont Jones had 15 points and Fatai Eke added 13.
"We're getting better," East coach Milt Henderson said. "We're improving from where we were at the beginning of the season. We just have to learn how to finish games."
Bayne, a 6-foot-2 point guard, did most of his damage by penetrating the East defense for layups. That approach garnered him numerous foul calls, leading to a 16-of-18 night from the free throw line.
Tucker Eegenburg was Stockdale's second leading scorer with 17 points, 13 of which came in the third quarter.
"I was just doing my part in the offense," Eegenburg said. "Doing my part in the press that we do. Just going after loose balls, getting steals. Just kind of feeling it, kind of the flow."
Stockdale was without one of its top players, Robbie Purdy, due to injury. Purdy, son of the Mustangs coach, suffered a separated left shoulder during the second quarter of the team's first game this season.
Ridgeview beat West 77-73 in the third-place game.