WHEELING, W.Va. – Brian Bowen knows that, in most games, opposing teams can use the whole “they’re No. 1 so it’s them who has all the pressure” as legitimate motivation when it comes to facing he and his top-ranked La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) squad.
But Saturday at 3 p.m. when the Lakers face No. 8 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) at the Cancer Research Classic, Bowen said the Pilots have “just as much to lose.”
“They’re undefeated too and everyone knows they’re one of the best teams in the country,” Bowen said. “I feel like both teams have a lot of pressure in this one.”
The added pressure didn’t affect Bowen in Friday’s 85-44 win against Villa Angela-St. Joseph (Cleveland) at the Classic.
Bowen was named MVP of the game after posting 23 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Tyger Campbell added 15 points and six assists and Jaren Jackson Jr. pumped in 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers.
“There’s no added pressure for us,” La Lumiere coach Shane Heirman said. “There’s certainly an added level of intensity and focus that you have to have coming in to a game like Saturday’s game. The bottom line is that you just have to be ready to play.”
Heirman and Bowen agreed that the Lakers fell short in that regard against Villa Angela-St. Joseph.
The Vikings were competitive in the first half and even led La Lumiere by one point midway through the second quarter.
The Lakers turned it around in the second half, outscoring the Vikings 48-13.
“I think we were guilty of looking ahead to Findlay, to be honest,” Heirman said. “It’s hard not to look ahead when you have a game of this magnitude next. I just told them to relax and focus on doing the things that we do every day. I don’t think focus will be a problem tomorrow. This is where our experience pays off.”
Bowen said the Lakers’ focus is on learning from the mistakes of Friday’s game and making the proper adjustments.
“We don’t have to worry about looking ahead because we’re playing who we want to play,” Bowen said. “The biggest thing for us is we can’t start out slow; that can’t happen. That will really hurt us against a team like Findlay. I think if we can come out and play the way that we played in the second half, pushing the ball and getting out in transition, we’ll be fine.”
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