No. 1 La Lumiere holds off Findlay Prep in overtime
Newly-ranked No. 1 La Lumiere took Findlay Prep's best shot on Friday at the Corn Palace.
The USA today No. 1 Lakers edged the Pilots 83-79 in overtime during Friday's finale of the Hoop City Classic.
Both armed with high-flyers and five-stars, the Lakers (13-0) and the Pilots (12-2) put on a show inside away from the snow that went down to the wire.
"South Dakota really loves their basketball," La Lumiere five-star forward Isaiah Stewart said. "They came out and I felt like we had the crowd on our side. There was moments they had the crowd on their side. I feel like we just fought tough the whole game and just stood it out and got the win."
Stewart muscled his way in the paint for 24 points and 17 boards to power the Lakers. Five-star Keion Brooks finished with 25 points and six rebounds, but fouled out with 4:21 left in the contest.
With Brooks on the bench, La Lumiere received clutch shots from Desmond Polk and Wendell Green to secure the win. In overtime, Polk hit his only field-goal attempt of the game to put the Lakers ahead 81-79 with 1:10 left. Polk missed his previous six attempts, including four 3-pointers.
"I told him keep shooting," Stewart said. " 'We are going to need you to keep shooting the ball.' He did exactly that. He hit a big shot."
After the Pilots came up empty on their next offensive possession, Green worked down the clock and hit a field goal with 17 seconds left for an 83-79 advantage. Findlay Prep turned the ball over on its next possession, allowing La Lumiere to run out and clock.
La Lumiere trailed 46-34 at halftime.
"We were only down 12 at half," La Lumiere coach Patrick Holmes said. "I told our guys we had been here before. 'You have to keep your composure. You have to stayed poised. Keep getting great shots and then just guard.' "
Findlay Prep guard PJ Fuller, who will play at TCU, sparked the Pilots in the first half. He scored 22 points as Findlay Prep surged ahead by 12 against the nation's No. 1 team.
"We made some adjustments on how we were guarding PJ in the second half," Holmes said. "He kicked our butt in the first half. We couldn't guard him."
The Lakers put Green on Fuller and he answered the defensive challenge.
"He defended PJ Fuller and held him to six points in the second half," Stewart said. "That was when Wendell was guarding him."
The Lakers chipped away at the deficit in the second half knotted up the score at 63-63 on a Stewart hook shot. The Pilots went scoreless for three-plus minutes and La Lumiere stretched the advantage to 71-63 with under five minutes left. But Findlay Prep hung around and stormed back to make it 75-73 with 13 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, Raymond Hawkins' shot attempt was blocked by Stewart. However, the 6-foot-8 Hawkins collected it and converted the second attempt right before the buzzer to force overtime.
Fuller hit a shot to put Findlay Prep ahead 79-77 with 2:30 left. However, La Lumiere scored the final six points of the game.
"We didn't shoot the ball extremely well from the free-throw line," Holmes said. "We left some points there, but I was just proud of how mentally tough our guys were and they competed from the tip, which is great."
Taryn Todd finished with 18 points for Findlay Prep, while Blaise Beauchamp added 11 points.
La Lumiere plays Tea Area at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon. Findlay Prep plays Sioux Falls O'Gorman at 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Sanford Pentagon.