Who: No. 3 Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.) vs. No. 6 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
When: Noon ET, Thursday
Where: Christ The King, Middle Village, N.Y.
About Blanche Ely: The Tigers (28-0) won the state 7A title and are playing in their third DICK’S (the tournament was known before last year as the National High School Invitational). The Tigers, the No. 4 team in the Super 25 rankings, are coached by American Family Insurance ALL-USA Coach of the Year Melvin Randall. They suffered close losses in the quarterfinals in 2012 to St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark) and in 2013 to Prime Prep (Dallas). Laquincy Rideau, a 6-1 senior point guard, averaged 16.5 points, 6.8 assists, and 5.1 rebounds and has plenty of help in Kentucky signee Therrell Gosier Jr., a 6-7 power forward (16.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg); guard Javon Heastie (13.5 ppg, 3.2 apg); and Diandre Wilson (10.5 ppg, 3.6 apg).
About Findlay Prep: The Pilots (28-2) are DICK’S royalty, having appeared in all seven tournaments and winning the event in 2009, 2010 and 2012. Findlay, ranked No. 8 in the Super 25, counters Ely’s defensive pressure with two elite guards in Arizona signee Allonzo Trier (26.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and junior Derryck Thornton (17.5 ppg, 6.4 apg). Auburn commit Horace Spencer, a 6-8 power forward, averaged 10.8 points and 9.7 rebounds and sophomore forward P.J. Washington (9.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg) are key players underneath.
What to expect: To make up for a lack of height, expect Ely to rely on relentless defensive pressure. Findlay will look to wear Ely down with its depth. The Pilots’ guards could also make the Tigers pay for their defensive intensity.