Irvine Valley's men's basketball team got off to a great start in the 23rd Annual Irvine Valley College Classic presented by Capistrano Toyota and Fast Action Basketball.
The Lasers easily handled Cuyamaca, 71-36, in a first-round game on Thursday night in Hart Gymnasium.
Irvine Valley improved its record to 4-1 overall and moved on to play in the semifinals on Friday at 7 p.m. The Lasers will take on Ventura, who was a 65-54 winner over Long Beach City. The other semifinal features Cerritos against American River at 5 p.m.
The Lasers actually got off to a sluggish start on Thursday. IVC was down, 8-3, with 13:20 left in the first half, and still trailed, 8-7, with 11:27 left to go.
But then sophomore guard Daniel Hernandez got going for Irvine Valley.
Hernandez nailed a three-pointer with 11:20 left in the half to put Irvine Valley up, 10-8.
The Lasers never trailed again.
Hernandez hit another three-pointer to make it 13-8 with 10:30 remaining in the half and then another three with 9:59 to play to give IVC a 16-8 advantage.
After being down, 8-3, IVC out-scored Cuyamaca, 24-8, the rest of the half.
Hernandez ended up with 16 points in the half, connecting on 5 of 10 shots from the floor and 4 of 8 three-pointers.
Sophomore forward Parker Sims chipped in with nine points and seven rebounds in the opening half.
Irvine Valley continued to play well in the second half, out-scoring Cuyamaca, 39-20, over the final 20 minutes of action.
Hernandez led the way, finishing with 28 points. He made 10 of 15 shots and 6 of 10 three-pointers in just 22 minutes.
Freshman guard Geoff Salas chipped in eight points and Sims had a nice all-around game with seven points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals. Freshman guard Devon Lamar also had seven points for Irvine Valley.
The Lasers out-rebounded Cuyamaca, 40-27, and committed just eight turnovers in the game. IVC had just one turnover in the first half.
IVC also made 41.7 percent (10 of 24) of its three-pointers.
Cuyamaca, which shot just 28.6 percent as a team for the game, got nine points and six rebounds from Saiyeed Mershon and eight points and four rebounds from Randy Marve.
Cuyamaca's record slipped to 0-4 overall.
Friday, Nov. 17 Schedule
Canyons vs. Imperial Valley at 1 p.m.
Cuyamaca vs. Long Beach City at 3 p.m.
Cerritos vs. American River at 5 p.m.
Ventura vs. Irvine Valley at 7 p.m.