SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A lot of teams have tried to do the Springfield double and failed, but Sierra Canyon made it look easy.
The No. 10 Trailblazers from Chatsworth, Calif., defeated No. 1 La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) 76-74 on Monday in the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., just days after winning the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo.
Sierra Canyon (14-1) was led Monday by Marvin Bagley III with 21 points and nine rebounds and Remy Martin with 18 points and 13 assists.
“Winning (the Bass Pro Shops TOC) gave us a lot of confidence,” Bagley said. “We knew the mission and we knew what we had to do. This is the type of game we really wanted because we want to be No. 1 and to be No. 1, you have to play these type of games.”
La Lumiere led 36-28 at the half and its 2-3 zone had forced the Trailblazers into 36% shooting.
“We were having a hard time with their zone,” Sierra Canyon coach Ty Nichols said. “They’re so long and that causes problems. A couple of my coaches suggested to move Marvin to the perimeter.”
Once that happened, the speedy Martin was able to slash time and time again to the basket.
“Remy almost played a perfect point guard game minus the (four) turnovers,” Nichols said. “Even when he penetrated, (La Lumiere) would stick to Marvin and Cody (Riley) and Remy would make the right decision on the fly. In my opinion, he’s the most underrated point guard in the country.”
Martin, a 6-foot Arizona State commit, is listed as the No. 27 point guard in the 2017 class according to 247Sports.com.
“Today, the first half, we started a little slowly but in the second half, we picked it up,” Martin said. “A lot was open for me and in the second half, I saw it better. I got off the ball and was able to penetrate the zone. Their guards played up so high that the penetration lanes were easy to get to. Marvin was a big distraction. He’s a great player, so a lot of the defense shifts toward him. That allowed me to do things to create for our teammates.”
Riley was another player that came up big in the second half. He was saddled with two early fouls but scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half to go with a team-high 10 rebounds.
“It was an ultra-competitive game,” Lakers coach Shane Heirman said. “You have to find a way in these kinds of games and credit to them, they did it. Cody was big in the second half and I thought his physicality bugged us.”
After the game, some at Sierra Canyon were saying they should be No. 1. That might be a hard sell since the Trailblazers’ lone loss was to unbeaten No. 8 Nathan Hale (Seattle), which defeated No. 7 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) earlier in the day.
Regardless, it’s easy to see that Sierra Canyon is playing high-level basketball after defeating Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) on Dec. 15, then No. 5 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) and No. 3 Memphis East (Memphis) at the Bass Pro Shops TOC, and now, No. 1 La Lumiere.
“We go to Bass Pro last year and lose at the buzzer in the championship and we’re deflated and we come here and it’s bad travel logistically and we are crushed by Montverde,” Nichols said. “This year, we’ve gone Oak Hill, Findlay Prep, Memphis East and La Lumiere, that’s four of the top teams in the country, from different states and different time zones with the travel.
“I think the win speaks to the character of the young men on the roster. They are genuinely excited with one another’s success. When one guy succeeds, they’re all happy for each other.”
La Lumiere (16-1) was led by Jaren Jackson Jr. with 21 points and Brian Bowen with 18.