The top three teams in high school basketball took the court Friday at the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, W. Va. and each made a strong case for the No. 1 ranking in high school basketball.
No. 1 McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.)
faced off against Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
in a back-and-forth contest early in the day before coming away with a 60-53 victory. The Indians, using their typical six-man rotation, used a 19-12 third quarter to open an eight-point lead entering the fourth and held strong over the final eight minutes. The top ranked Peach State contender once again hung their hat on defense, holding the Pilots to 34.5 percent from the field and just 24 second-half points.
, the 2019 Auburn commit, led the charge for McEachern — finishing with 24 points and 11 rebounds after a 19-point second half effort. Okoro was often set up by his elite 2020 point guard Sharife Cooper
, who contributed 16 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
In perhaps the most highly anticipated matchup of the day, No. 2 La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.)
took it to No. 12 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
67-54 for an impressive win. The Lakers looked to make their case for the No. 1 spot in the rankings with their opening-game win, adding another signature win to their early-season resume.
The 'Iolani Classic champions were guided by a strong performance from their 5-star center Isaiah Stewart,
who led the way with a very efficient 22 points and 12 rebounds while going 8-of-11 from the field. The Lakers other 5-star senior, Keion Brooks
, also made critical contributions throughout the contest, finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds despite struggling throughout.
No. 3 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
steamrolled Norcross (Norcross, Ga.)
88-56 behind a balanced scoring effort that saw 10 different players score. Led by 5-star senior Precious Achiuwa's
21 points and eight rebounds in just 20 minutes of play, the defending GEICO Nationals champions showed why they started the season ranked No. 1. The Eagles dominated the Georgia contender from start to finish and holding the Blue Devils to under 30 percent shooting for the game.
In the nightcap, Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)
came out to prove a point against No. 10 Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia)
, coming away with a 53-44 win. The Buffaloes broke things open in the first half and took an 11-point lead into halftime. The Panthers never recovered and never truly threatened Sunrise Christian Academy down the stretch as the Philly power struggled to find the mark offensively. Sunrise Christiangot a stellar defensive effort from 2020 7-footer N'Faly Dante,
who finished with four blocks and altered seemingly every shot in the paint.
The Cancer Research Classic will resumes Saturday with showdowns between No. 1 McEachern and No. 10 Imhotep Charter and No. 2 La Lumiere and No. 3 Montverde Academy. Both games are rematches of contests played in holiday tournaments and both should have major implications in next week's rankings. Will the Cancer Research Classic establish a new No. 1? Stay tuned.