WHEELING, WV -- The Cancer Research Classic featured some of the top teams in the country but the game everyone wanted to see was the #1 vs. #2 battle between La Lumiere (IN) and Findlay Prep (NV). La Lumiere entered this game as the top team in the country according to USA Today but after Findlay Prep defeated Oak Hill 78-62 at the Iona Classic in Hawaii, many considered them as the best.
La Lumiere came into this game with something prove; to prove that they are the best team in the country. After a 69-54 victory, they will remain in that top spot. Jaren Jackson led all scorers with 24 points, along with a game-high 17 rebounds. Jackson was matched up with future Kentucky Wildcat, PJ Washington, and the two had an incredible battle, not only in the paint but also on the perimeter.
"It's always going to be chippy going against one of the best players in the country," Jackson said about the duel. "We both competed. I'd like to say he didn't get the best of me and I held my own [along] with the win."
The biggest play of the game may have been when Jackson knocked down a three-pointer in the face of Washington, also getting the foul. The four-point play gave the Lakers a 13-point lead and killed the small momentum that Findlay Prep had built. This And-1 also came after a monster poster dunk that Jackson was on the receiving end of.
The game started with both teams trading big plays. PJ Washington knocked two threes early and had two big blocks in the first half. Washington showed his versatility today, playing on the perimeter, even checking the shifty Tyger Campbell, Coach Cal has a very dominate player coming to him next year. He finished with 16.
The backcourt of Tyger Campbell and Brian "Tugs" Bowen is a special one. These two have been playing together for the last two seasons and this year it looks like their chemistry together has hit its peak. They only combined for 22 points, 15 of which coming from Bowen, but they do a great job of controlling the game. Both players were a part of last year's National Championship loss and both admitted that they still have it in the back of their heads.
"We have a banner in our gym that says, runner-up and every day in practice we look at it," Bowen said about the National Championship loss to Oak Hill last year.
Washington also acknowledges the potential rematch that could happen in New York.
"We weren't making shots, we weren't playing our game well," Washington said about the loss. "They were the better team today but we'll see them again in New York."
LaLu has depth, which makes them a tough team to beat. Eight players scored, all at different positions. Kevin Zhang and Jordan Poole each had quality buckets off the bench and did not appear to be liabilities on the defensive end. LaLu greatest attribute is their passion and team chemistry. They enter games with a lot of passion and finish the game with a lot of passion. After each win, the players enter the locker rooms, while the coaches await outside. Once the entire team is in the coaches enter, and from there it's a big celebration that includes water bottles and team chants.
Other scores from Day 2:
Neuman-Goretti (PA) suffered their 4th loss to a team outside of Pennslyvania, falling short to Wheeler (GA) 82-56. Dhamir Crosby-Roundtree led all scorers with 27 points.
IMG Academy (FL) dominated in the second half to get a 76-43 victory over Greenforest (GA). Trevon Duval led all scorers with 15 points.
DeMatha (MD) defeated Roselle Catholic 66-61, holding off Roselle 4th quarter rally led by Nazeer Reid.