Lost in last weekend’s shuffle of Duke’s epic comeback wins at the PK80 and Oklahoma point guard Trae Young’s Michael Jordan shoulder shrug beast mode performances was Memphis East’s (Tenn.) 68-57 dismantling of No. 1 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) in front of a capacity crowd of more than 2,000 at the inaugural Larry Finch Classic presented by the Penny Hardaway National Hoopfest Series.
The Mustangs check in at No. 3 in the USA Today Super 25.
“It was probably the biggest game of the year, definitely so far,” Memphis East coach Penny Hardaway said. “Obviously, a great win for our team.”
Chandler Lawson and James Wiseman led the Mustangs with 17 points apiece while Alex Lomax came up big down the stretch scoring 11 points and dishing out eight assists in the win.
“They played a very wide zone; they’re shortest guy was 6-3,” Hardaway said. “Then you go to 6-7, 6-8, 7-foot, 7-foot and then another guard comes off the bench at 6-8. We had to be patient and methodical because that zone bothered us. It was a great team win.”
The Mustangs only got their full team back three days before the big win on Nov. 22 when Wiseman and Ryan Boyce were temporarily cleared by the county chancellor after being ruled ineligible when the TSSAA initially determined that the school had violated the state’s “prior link” rule for transfers.
Wiseman, a 6-11 forward, is the No. 1 junior in the country according to ESPN. Boyce, a senior, is a four star wing.
Both suited up for Hardaway’s summer ball squad Team Penny on the prestigious Nike EYBL.
Hardaway said he was “very worried” that neither player would be cleared because “usually the TSSAA is the judge and jury.”
Still, the players aren’t out of the woods yet, a Dec. 13 hearing will determine if they can continue to suit up for the Mustangs.
“The judge just let the boys play until the trial,” Hardaway said. “We’ll just have to see what happens.”
For now, the Mustangs (4-0) are hoping to build on the momentum of their big win.
Memphis East will face Christian Brothers College (St. Louis) on Friday before traveling to Louisville, Kentucky to face Aspire Academy and five-star center Charles Bassey on Saturday.
“The win over Findlay was a big confidence builder for us because they were the vets and we were the rooks,” Hardaway said. “We feel like the more time we together on the court the chemistry is only gonna get better and the team is gonna grow.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY