Five things we learned Thursday at the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School Nationals in Middle Village, N.Y.
Exhaustion? What’s that?
Apparently, playing in the McDonald’s All American Game isn’t that taxing. Some of the top players in the quarterfinals at the DICK’S Nationals on Thursday played in the McDonald’s game the night before in Chicago and then came to New York via an early-morning flight.
Findlay Prep, led by McDonald’s guard P.J. Washington, defeated Oak Hill 77-65. Washington led the Pilots with 22 points and five blocks. Billy Preston, Oak Hill’s McDonald’s representative, led the Warriors with 21 points.
La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) defeated Wasatch Academy (Mount Pleasant, Utah) 64-52 while being led by two players who were in the McDonald’s game the day before. Brian Bowen, a 6-8 undecided senior forward, had 21 points and nine rebounds while Jaren Jackson Jr., a 6-11 forward and Michigan State signee, had 19 points and 12 rebounds.
IMG’s Trevon Duval, who played in Chicago as well, didn’t fare as well. Though he led the Ascenders in their loss to Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.) with 14 points, he was scoreless in the second half and had eight turnovers.
Big day for Sandro
Off all the undecided seniors at the tournament, Sandro Mamukelashvili, a 6-11 power forward from Montverde Academy, may have helped himself the most. He had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Eagles’ in their 74-61 quarterfinal defeat of Shadow Mountain (Phoenix).
Lakers’ fans travel well
La Lumiere easily had the biggest fan section at the event, with Lakers fans nearly taking up a whole section of the bleachers during their team’s defeat of Wasatch Academy. The fans made themselves known by loudly chanting throughout the game and wearing white T-shirts that said, “La Lu Mentality.” After the game, the players went into the stands to thank the fans.
Long layoff leads to loss
One of the toughest parts of the tournament is that most of the teams haven’t played a real game for nearly a month. Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) coach Steve Smith, whose team lost to Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), said his school’s spring break also meant that the team practiced for only a short time before the event.
“It’s tough for us — we had spring break,” Smith said. “I’m sure everybody’s going to complain about that kind of layoff when the season is over. But we were off for 17 days. We came back Sunday. Practiced twice Monday, Tuesday. Practiced last night. So we looked rusty. We looked like we hadn’t practiced for a while. Our school shuts down. They close the doors. Kids have to go home.”
Greensboro Day’s defense never rests
While No. 19 Greensboro Day’s 59-40 win over No. 4 IMG Academy was an upset, it followed a familiar pattern for the Bengals this season. The team has shown the ability to stymie opposing offenses, even really good ones.
“We are a true team,” Greensboro Day coach Freddy Johnson said. “We are going to play within ourselves. Defensively, Jeff Smith does a great job of preparing us for games like this. We kept teams down to 44 points a game this season. Oldsmar (Christian) had 25 against us. Wheeler had 33. We love the shot clock. It helps us because it forces teams to attack against us.”
Joe DiPaulo contributed to this article