What a difference a week makes, especially for the Gaels of Bishop Gorman High of Las Vegas. Last week they were upended in the semis of their own tournament, but this week they dominated the field at the 34th annual Beach Ball Classic capping off the weekend with a near flawless defensive performance versus Franklin High from Ohio.
Bishop Gorman jumped out to a quick 15-7 lead, after breaking a 5-all tie with a long distance three from 6-0 Ugo Amadi and a pair of dunks by 7-footer Stephen Zimmerman. The Gaels, behind a stingy 1-3 zone, with a trailer on Franklin scoring machine, 6-6 Duke signee Luke Kennard, holding him to just 9 first half points in route to building a 33-20 advantage over the Wildcats.
Gaels Coach Grant Rice and his staff designed a unique defensive approach, putting 7-foot Stephen Zimmerman at the top of the 1-3 zone, with 6-11 Chase Jeter in the middle of the second tier flanked by 6-5 Nick Blair and either Amadi or 6-11 Zach Collins. Rice told me that he felt they had to attack Kennard, rather than let him get off early. For his ingenuity, Rice and his squad’s defense was named the HTC “Player of the Game!”
The second half opened with a quick 10-3 run by Gorman, that for all intent and purposes put the game away, 43-23 with just four minutes played in the second stanza. Gorman continued to keep the ball away from Kennard, as the Tournament MOP didn’t score until their were just eight minutes left in the game. He finished with 17 points, but it was too little, too late, as Gorman’s defense rolled to a 71-39 victory in the Beach Ball final!
Bishop Gorman was led by, the other Duke signee in the game, Chase Jeter with 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists. He got solid support from Amadi who finished with 17 points, including three big shots from beyond the arc and tournament MVP Stephen Zimmerman who chipped in with 12 points, 4 boards and 4 assists in the win. 6-11 junior Zach Collins added 8 points and Nick Blair 8 points to round out the Gorman attack. Kennard led the Franklin Wildcats with 17 points, bringing his record setting total to 147 points eclipsing the mark by 28 points set by . He got solid support from 6-4 Evan Crowe who added 10 points in the loss.
A special thanks to tournament director John Rhodes for his hospitality throughout the tournament, as well as media director Alan Smothers who scheduled my games and did the play by play in most of the games we broadcast in Myrtle Beach.
They along with the Tournament Committee chose the Beach Ball Classic All-Tournament squad. .Here are their picks for the 2014 squad:
MOP –Luke Kennard 6-6 SG Franklin (147 points/4 games / 52 points single game *Tournament records)
MVP – Stephen Zimmerman 7-0 C Bishop Gorman (NV)
Chase Jeter 6-11 PF Bishop Gorman (NV)
Seth Towns 6-8 PF Columbus Northland (OH)
Luke Maye 6-8 PF Hough (NC)
Evan Hall 6-7 PF Hindman Knox County (Sportsmanship)
Kipper Nichols 6-7 WF Lakewood St. Edward’s (H)
P.J. Dozier 6-6 SG Spring Valley (SC)
Kobi Simmons 6-5 SG Alpharetta St. Francis (GA)
Malik Beasley 6-5 SG Alpharetta St. Francis (GA)
Jalek Felton 6-4 SG Mullins (SC)
Prince Ali 6-4 SG Weston Sagemont (FL)
Craig Randle 6-4 SG Phoenix Shadow Mountain (AZ)
Evan Crowe 6-4 SG Franklin OH)
Camron Justice 6-2 SG Hindman Knox County (KY)