RALEIGH, N.C. – High Point Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) forward Edrice Adebayo wasn’t interested in coming close again.
Two weeks ago, Adebayo, a Kentucky signee, and the Cougars we’re competitive in the semifinals of the City of Palms Classic but eventually fell to No. 2 Chino Hills (Chino Hills, Calif.).
So coming into the High School OT Holiday Invitational John Wall bracket title game, Adebayo was dead-set on closing the deal.
“I wasn’t gonna let this one get away,” Adebayo said. “I feel like losing that game made us more mentally tough.”
Adebayo scores 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the Cougars past Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) 75-63 Wednesday night. Adebayo was named tournament Most Outstanding Player. His teammate Michael Hueitt Jr. scored 23 points and was named Most Valuable Player.
“We had some guys who were nicked up and tired but they wanted to play to get this done,” Cougars coach Brandon Clifford said. “That’s just a testament to our guys. They showed a lot of mental toughness and that was the difference.”
The Cougars blew the game open in the third quarter behind three three-pointers from Hueitt. They extended the lead to as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter.
“Third quarter was the difference in the game,” Apaches coach Shaun Wiseman said. “They just made shots and they were contested too. They just shot the ball really well.”
Clifford said the big win was the perfect setup for his team headed into their difficult conference schedule.
“This will do a lot for us as we start conference play because we beat some quality opponents,” Clifford said. “We have one of the toughest conferences and having gone through this kind of test will have us even more ready. I’m proud of our guys.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY