The Findlay Prep Pilots were firing on all cylinders in the final game of the Fourth Annual Mike Miller Classic Saturday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.
The result was a 58-44 victory over DeLaSalle (Minn.).
Findlay Prep (Nev.) was 22-of-31 from the field and 1-of-4 from behind the arc.
“I want to tip my hat to DeLaSalle, they are a very well coached team, well respected team and a tough team,” Findlay Prep basketball coach Jerome Williams said. “The most impressive thing to me was how we were able to keep our heads defensively and hold a very good offensive team to less than fifty points.”
Leading the charge for the Pilots Saturday was Kansas commit Kelly Oubre. The senior guard/forward tallied 16 points and six rebounds.
Oubre was 8 of 12 from the field and seemed to be able to create his own shot when he wanted to Saturday.
Sophomore point guard Derryck Thornton had a game-high 17 points for Findlay Prep, who is one of the top high school basketball teams in the nation.
Thornton knifed his way through DeLaSalle defense and pushed the ball up court, forcing multiple fouls.
The sophomore went to the line 13 times and converted nine of his free-throws.
“We have had a rough go at it the last few nights,” Williams said. “Losing a couple of games definitely gets guys a little tight. But we were able to weather the storm and find a way to gut out the win.”
Findlay Prep opened the game on an 11-2 run, but DeLaSalle battled back to cut the lead to four with less than six minutes to go in the half.
But as quickly as DeLaSalle trimmed the lead was as quickly as the Pilots put more distance between the two teams.
Aided by a 9-4 run Findlay Prep went to the half with a 26-16 lead.
The opening half was a microcosm of what the game would become. Throughout the entire contest Findlay Prep would build a lead only to watch DeLaSalle come back and get somewhat within striking distance.
At one point in the second half, Findlay Prep stretched its lead to 18 points, but the Islanders went on a 10-0 run to cut the lead to eight points.
Despite its best efforts and solid defense DeLaSalle couldn’t overcome its shooting woes.
“We played Oak Hill a few years ago, but in my 20 years of coaching that is probably the most talented team we have faced,” DeLaSalle basketball coach Dave Thorson said. “Not to take anything away from Findlay, but we don’t think we played as well as we could have. For Minnesota teams and South Dakota teams we don’t get to play teams like this often.”
The Pilots, who are one of the top high school basketball teams in the nation feature several Division I basketball prospects.
Williams, who spent nine seasons in the NBA said every basketball player who has graduated from the school has gone on to play Division I basketball.
The Islanders were 15-of-46 from the field and 1-of-16 from three point range.
Junior guard Jarvis Johnson and junior forward Sacar Anim each had a team-high 11 points for DeLaSalle.
Anim sliced and diced his way to the basket, earning lots of free throw opportunities. He finished 5 of 10 from the line.
“I thought we came out and competed in the second half,” Thorson said. A lot of times high school players they might make one effort, but I thought we made more than one effort. I thought we showed great tenacity, we just couldn’t make a shot.”
Both teams battled all night despite missing key players due to injury. DeLaSalle was without Stanford commit Reid Travis, while Findlay Prep’s Rashad Vaughn, who is one of the top wing players in the nation was out.
Travis sat out because of a stress fracture, while Vaughn was out with a sore knee.