Friday Tarkanian Classic Recap
It will be an all-California final in the Platinum Division of the Tarkanian Classic with Student Sports FAB 50 No. 6 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) taking on No. 27 Bishop O’Dowd. In the Prep Division, the nation’s No. 2 ranked team goes down as Prime Prep (Ft. Worth, Texas) rebounds from its first loss on Thursday to down Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.). Findlay Prep’s loss is sure to shake up the next set of FAB 50 rankings after the New Year’s holiday.
Bishop O’Dowd-Mater Dei Final Set
For Tarkanian Classic Platinum Division
The nationally-televised Platinum Division semifinal showdown between Student Sports FAB 50 No. 17 Bishop Gorman (Las vegas) and No. 27 Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) was billed as a matchup between three of the nation’s best junior big men — namely 6-10 Ivan Rabb of O’Dowd and the Gorman duo of Stephen Zimmerman (7-0) and Chase Jeter (6-10).
The big men got the headlines, but it was the Bishop O’Dowd backcourt that stole the show, as senior Juwan Anderson and junior Paris Austin combined for 31 points and nine assists in the Dragons’ 68-54 victory.
Rabb did get the best of the Gorman duo inside, finishing with 24 points on 12-of-18 shooting and seven rebounds, but it was Anderson and Austin that controlled the game’s tempo. The Bishop Gorman guards couldn’t stop them from penetrating and finishing or kicking to an open teammate. Bishop Gorman (5-3) was prepared for the kicking, but O’Dowd’s guard duo scored a bit more points than the Gaels would have liked, particularly Anderson. He finished with 16 points and only missed one shot from the field.
“Juwan is a real good point guard,” Austin said. “He doesn’t worry about scoring a lot playing with Ivan. We get less attention on the court when Ivan is out there and that’s when we get our money.”
Bishop O’Dowd (4-0) opened the second quarter on a 16-3 run to take a 27-22 lead after the Gaels started out strong. It was a 50-40 advantage for O’Dowd at the end of the third period, but the Dragons’ lead eventually grew to as big as 20 points (64-44) as Bishop Gorman made only one field goal in the final five minutes.
Jeter finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Zimmerman finished with six points (attempting only six shots from the field) and five rebounds. Gorman was led in the scoring department by senior guard Noah Robotham with 15 points.
Bishop O’Dowd advanced to the semifinals earlier in the day courtesy of its 63-60 quarterfinal victory over El Camino Real (Woodland Hills, Calif.). Rabb finished that game with 27 points, 11 rebounds and seven deflections.
In probably the best game in the Platinum Division thus far, FAB 50 No. 46 Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.) edged Lone Peak (Highland, Utah), 67-63, in an emotionally taxing game.
Redondo Union coach Reggie Morris Jr. warned us his team might have played its best game of the tournament to advance to the semifinals against No. 6 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.). Redondo Union played in a 2pm quarterfinal, whereas Mater Dei cruised to a 71-37 win over Constitution (Philadelphia) in its 12:40 pm quarterfinal.
In the semifinal nightcap, Redondo Union didn’t have anything left in the tank and Mater Dei routed them, 84-38, to advance to the championship game for the second consecutive season.
“It makes a big difference when you are a physically strong team and have the best player (Stanley Johnson),” Morris Jr. said.
Redondo Union (7-2) shot only 25 percent from the field (15-of-60) and was never really in the game. Mater Dei (9-0) shot 56 percent from the field and made half (11-of-22) of its 3-point shots. Leading the way was junior guard La’Vette Parker, who made 6-of-10 3-pointers and finished with 22 points.
Johnson, as Morris Jr. alluded to, was his usual spectacular self. In fact, we can’t remember the last time Johnson had a poor game statistically in a meaningful contest. The Arizona-bound forward netted 28 points on 12-of-17 shooting, added seven rebounds and five assists.
Mater Dei went up 34-11 after a 32-5 run that extended from late in the first quarter until the middle of the second quarter. It didn’t get any better for the Sea Hawks after the game was long decided. Redondo Union closed the deficit to 55-35, only to see Mater Dei finish the game with a 29-3 scoring advantage.
Junior guard Cameron High led Redondo Union with 11 points.
Prime Prep (Ft. Worth, Texas) 70, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 67
Coming into Friday’s Prep Division showdown game, it was apparent Prime Prep would have to rebound like madmen or shoot a high percentage from the field.
Early on, Findlay Prep indeed got the best of Prime Prep on the boards, and its high percentage shots led to a 16-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. But behind the shooting of sophomore guard DeShawn Williams and freshmen forward P.J. Washington, Prime Prep got back in the game in the second quarter and senior point guard Emmanuel Mudiay closed the show.
The Mr. Basketball USA front-runner in the preseason, Mudiay displayed why he might be the best player in the country, scoring 12 fourth quarter points to lead Prime Prep to a 70-67 victory over Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.).
Findlay Prep came into the game ranked No. 2 in the latest Student Sports FAB 50 rankings. Prime Prep came in ranked No. 8, but was coming off a Thursday loss to Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.) and considered this a do-or-die game.
“I definitely wanted to come out more aggressive,”said Mudiay, who finished with 24 points, six rebounds and three assists. “We came in like this was our biggest game of the season. We had a goal to go undefeated this year. This win was very important for going to D.C. (the NHSI) at the end of the season.”
Findlay Prep (15-2) had a chance to tie the game on its last possession, but sophomore guard Derryck Thornton couldn’t get off a 3-point field goal attempt with Mudiay draped all over him on defense.
“Coming out of the timeout, we wanted to switch off screens and it worked,” Mudiay said.
Williams got Prime Prep (9-1) back in the game with his outside shooting in the second quarter. He finished with a game-high 26 points, making 6-of-8 3-pointers. Prime Prep also got a huge lift from Washington, who finished 12 points. The first-year player came off the bench, competed underneath and knocked down some mid-range shots.
“He had a great game and came in and did a good job on Craig Victor,” Mudiay said. “He’s also is our most enthusiastic player on the bench. P.J. is going to be a hell of a player.”
Kansas recruit Kelly Oubre Jr. led Findlay Prep with 20 points. Thornton finished with 14 points.
In an earlier showcase game at the Orleans Arena, Our Savior New American defeated Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.), 60-57.
Montrose Christian had a chance to tie the game on its last possession but could not get a clean look off.
Our Savior New American (8-0) had four players in double figures, led by junior post Cheick Diallo. He finished with 20 points and like he did the night before against Prime Prep, dominated the interior with his length and rebounding.