FORT MYERS, Fla. — Isaiah Stokes couldn’t make the big shot the previous night, but he made several big free throws Wednesday to lead No. 3 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) to a 70-65 defeat of No. 10 The Patrick School (Hillside, N.J.) in the third-place game at the City of Palms Classic.
Stokes, a senior 6-8 forward from Memphis who has signed with Florida, made five of six free throws to close the scoring and ice the win for the Ascenders (10-1). He was helped by a big effort by Trevon Duval, who had 23 points, and Emmitt Williams, who had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Stokes had missed a jumper that would have tied the game late on Tuesday in his team’s loss to No. 4 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), but he had shrugged off the miss, thanks to some supportive words from his teammates.
“You have to have a short memory in basketball because there’s always a game the next day,” Stokes said. “I feel like we played more aggressively in the second half. We were settling for a lot of jumpers in the first half.”
The Patrick School (2-2) was led by Jamir Harris, who had 25 points and nailed seven three-pointers, many of them at crucial times.
“I didn’t realize I was that hot, I was just playing in the flow of the game,” Harris said. “It doesn’t really matter because it didn’t result in a win. We didn’t make the key plays or the big shots down the stretch and they did.”
The Patrick School led 32-30 at the half, due in large part to great interior defense and a strong effort by Harris, who had 13 points in the half, including three three-pointers. The lead could have been larger, but IMG made a run with two minutes to go as Williams had six consecutive points.
Duval was crucial to IMG’s win. He hit seven of 14 shots from the floor, had five rebounds and five assists. He gave the Ascenders their first lead and the lead for good with less than five minutes remaining by scoring five consecutive points. The first two came at the line and the next three came on a three-point play.
“He’s the No. 1 point guard in the country,” Stokes said. “He’s a big part of our offense.”