SPRINGIFELD, Mo. — Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) is back in the championship game of the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions, but it probably did not think it would get there this way.
Sierra Canyon, ranked No. 10 in the Super 25, blew out No. 4 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), 76-47, in a game that was largely over after the first quarter.
Sierra Canyon jumped out to a 24-5 lead in the first quarter and shot 10-for-13 from the field; Findlay shot 2-for-13 in the opening quarter.
Findlay Prep went nearly six minutes of game time to end the third quarter and start the fourth without a point.
Much of the final four minutes were played under a running clock because the margin was more than 30 points in accordance with Missouri rules.
Sierra Canyon lost on a buzzer beater to Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) in last year’s title game. It was the first time that Oak Hill led in the game.
Sierra Canyon will face No. 3 Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.) in Saturday’s title game (10:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network).
“You can pinch me because that’s really hard to do,” coach Ty Nichols said of the title game return. “We’e just thrilled to be here, No. 1, and then to get to play to the Bass Pro Tournament of Championships champions game two years in a row is something that these kids can be proud of.”
After transferring, Marvin Bagley III was not eligible for last season’s tournament. The other four members of the Trailblazers’ starting five played significant roles in last year’s Tournament of Champions runner-up squad.
“I’ve been playing with these guys for a long time now, since seventh grade, and adding Marvin was just adding a piece of the puzzle. He’s so easy to play with,” said Arizona State signee Remy Martin, who had 16 points Friday. “Everybody is so easy to play with and everybody knows their role, in a sense, and that’s hard to find in a high school team. …
“We’re here to win. We’re here to show that we shouldn’t have lost that last game (to Oak Hill). “We feel like we’re the best team in the country and nobody should be able to stay with us.”
Findlay Prep’s star, Kentucky signee P.J. Washington, fouled out with four points and eight rebounds.
“That was our focus,” Nichols said. “P.J. is a potential McDonald’s All-American and a great ballplayer. People are going to love watching him at Kentucky. We needed to play some defense on that kid. I thought our entire team did a very good job.”
Justin Roberts led Findlay Prep with 15 points in the loss. His teammate Lamine Diane added 14 points.
Marvin Bagley III, the No. 1 junior in the nation, led Sierra Canyon with 28 points on 8-of-15 shooting with 14 rebounds. Bagley also was 11-for-13 from the free throw line.
“He changed a lot of shots inside,” Nichols said. “.He didn’t get all the blocks, but being around the rim made them think about how to shoot it … I was really immersed with his poise. I felt like he let the game come to him and flow and he took the opportunities given to him. He played an outstanding game on both sides of the ball.”
Contributing: Springfield News-Leader