SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) guard Roy Jones III is fully aware this will sound like outright spin, but he’s OK with the risk because “it’s true.”
On Nov. 22, the Pilots fell to Memphis East (Tenn.). “It was the best thing that could’ve happened to us,” Jones said.
“We were the No. 1 team in the country, and we might’ve been feelin’ ourselves a little bit,” Jones said. “That loss really woke us up. That taught us that we have to come out and execute; we can’t just show up and win. Something clicked after that.”
Actually, Memphis East is No. 1 in the USA TODAY Super 25 rankings, but No. 4 Findlay Prep certainly looked like a team with a renewed sense of purpose in a 75-60 win over Desert Vista (Phoenix) Saturday at the American Family Insurance Spalding Hoophall West.
Reggie Chaney, an Arkansas signee, led Findlay Prep with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Jones, Bol Bol and Nathan Mensah, a San Diego State signee, added 11 points apiece.
“I believe in putting kids in the fire,” Findlay Prep coach Paul Washington Sr. said. “I don’t care about what we’re ranked now, I just want them to get better.
Against Memphis East, Washington Sr. said, “We were on the road in a packed arena of 2,500 fans and none of them wanted us to win. We were up the whole game and didn’t close it out. It was a great experience for these guys.”
Bol said he’s confident the Pilots “should’ve won,” but added that the loss improved the team’s chemistry.
“I was playing in my first game and I had a broken finger that’s still broken now,” said Bol, an Oregon signee. “We just didn’t finish it. I think we all know now that we can’t play games like that. Now when we’re slacking we have that game to think about, so it helps. I hate that we lost though. I hate losing.”
Jones shares those sentiments and said Memphis East is a team that he “definitely wants to see again.
“I would love that,” Jones said. “I think we’re a totally different team now. Hopefully, that will happen at some point.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY