Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
La Lumiere to Dick’s Nationals semis; Oak Hill, IMG Academy upset
BY CHRIS BARCANEW YORK — There will be no rematch, no possible shot at vengeance for La Lumiere (IN), last year’s broken hearted Dick’s Nationals runner-up.
But that’s not because the top-seed Lakers were knocked out in the first round of this year’s tournament. They did their job Thursday night at Christ the King High School, cruising past No. 8 Wasatch Academy (UT) 64-52. It’s No. 5 Oak Hill Academy (VA), who stunned La Lumiere at the buzzer in the 2016 title game, who is going home early.
Packing Oak Hill’s bags in the 77-65 defeat were the Pilots of No. 4 Findlay Prep (NV), who blitzed the Warriors in the second half to the tune of 46 points while holding Oak Hill to just 34.
Three Pilots (34-3) scored at least 21 points, including Kentucky-bound senior forward PJ Washington — No. 17 n ESPN’s 2017 Top 100 — who dropped a game-high 22 to go along with four rebounds and three assists. Chipping in with 21 each were undecided forwards Reggie Chaney, a junior target of Baylor and Notre Dame who also snagged nine boards in the win, and Lamine Diane, a senior who holds offers from Baylor and Southern Utah.
The game was won in the paint for Findlay Prep and lost on the floor for Oak Hill. The Pilots dominated their Virginia counterparts 46-22 down low while the Warriors shot just 43 percent from the field.
Senior power forward and Kansas commit Billy Preston was the lone bright spot for Oak Hill, dropping 21 points in a 9-14 effort from the field. But holding the Warriors back was Iowa State-bound senior guard Lindell Wigginton, who shot a brutal 4-19, including 2-10 from three-point range.
Findlay Prep will take on La Lumiere in the semifinals on Friday at 5 p.m., less than 24 after Lakers stars Brian Bowen and Jaren Jackson Jr. dropped 21 and 19 points, respectively, to cruise past Wasatch.
Tenacious defense from the tournament’s lowest seed limited the high-powered Lakers to just nine points on 3-17 shooting in the first quarter, but La Lumiere turned it on in the second half.
Both the undecided Bowen, No. 12 on ESPN’s 2017 Top 100, and Jackson, the Michigan State recruit, were simply overpowering in the final two quarters, as the former threw down multiple highlight-reel dunks and the latter dominated inside with 12 rebounds and four blocks.
Bowen will decide between Arizona, Creighton, Michigan State, North Carolina and Texas in April.
It was a tough day Wasatch’s Emmanuel Akot, the Arizona-bound junior forward, who scored 14 points, mostly in garbage time, while shooting a brutal 5-21 from the field.
In the top half of the bracket, No. 2 IMG Academy (FL) was stunningly sent packing by No. 7 Greensboro Day (NC), who used a 21-6 fourth quarter run to upset the Ascenders.
Senior guard North Carolina Central commit Jordan Perkins buried a pair of key, fourth quarter threes to put Greensboro Day ahead for good, while Temple recruit JP Moorman, a senior power forward, went for 15 points, seven rebounds and four steals in the win.
IMG went just 15-42 as a team, including 4-24 from deep and 6-16 from the free throw line, an ugly performance punctuated by an eight-turnover performance from undecided senior guard Trevon Duval, number four on ESPN’S 2017 Top 100.
Duval led IMG with 14 points, the only player who finished in double digits, but the nation’s top-ranked point guard committed three turnovers and failed to score in the fourth quarter.
Greensboro Day advances to the tournament semifinals on Friday at 3 p.m., where they will take on No. 3 Montverde (FL), who cruised past Shadow Mountain (AZ) 74-61.
Undecided guard RJ Barrett, ESPN’s top-ranked sophomore, went for 24 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in the win, while senior forward Sandro Mamukelashvili dropped 20 points.
UC-Santa Barbara commit Marcus Shaver hung 19 points in the loss for Shadow Mountain, while sophomore Jovan Blacksher scored a team-high 20.
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.