Bishop Gorman 82, Foothills Christian 50By Jack Nelson
In the second play-in game at the Inaugural Jerry Tarkanian Classic at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, NV the host Bishop Gorman Gaels, coached by Grant Rice, ran their season record to a perfect 9-0 by trampling the Foothills Christian Knights from El Cajon,CA, coached by Brad Leaf, by a score of 82-50.
The result was not unexpected as Bishop Gorman is the #1 ranked team in Nevada while Foothills Christian is probably one of the youngest teams in the nation. They have 5 freshmen on their 9 man roster including T.J. Leaf, the coach's son who is listed at 6-7 but when matched up with Bishop Gorman heralded big man, 7-0 Soph Stephen Zimmerman for the opening tipoff he looked like he was not over two inches shorter Zimmerman.
This tournament was named in honor of Jerry Tarkanian, a coaching legend and basketball icon and honors his coaching excellence over 6 decades of coaching at all levels - high school, junior college, NCAA Div 1 and NBA.
Bishop Gorman now advances to Thursday's Platinum Div 1st round game where they will play the Narbonne Gauchos from Calif at 7PM at the main gym at Bishop Gorman.
Bishop Gorman scored the first points of the game on a defensive rebound by Zimmerman and a long pass to a streaking Rashad Muhammad to give Bishop Gorman a 2-0 lead. Rashad is a brother to UCLA freshman star Shabazz Muhammad. Leaf tied the game with a drive from the right wing and an 8 ft floater but that was the last tie of the game. Trey Kennedy broke the tie with a 10 ft jumper from the left wing.
Neither team was shooting well in the opening minutes of the game and Noah Robotham, 6-0 Jr, hit back to back layups, the last one on a nice assist from Muhammad to give Bishop Gorman a 9-2 lead at the 12:15 mark of the first half. The Nevada games have two 16 minute halves. Austin Monstrong, 6-4 Jr, scored on a layup for Foothills Christian and teammate Kennedy did likewise. Monstrong scored again to make it 11-6.
Muhammad hit a 14 ft jumper from the left wing and that was the start of a 14-0 run for Bishop Gorman that featured a 3-pointer from the right wing by Robotham and a sensational dunk by one of the best athletes in the tournament, Nick Blair, a 6-5 Soph, who is going to be a dandy. He came right back with another score and Robotham had assists on both of those plays. Leaf broke the drought with a baseline drive to make it 25-8 at the 3:58 mark and Bishop Gorman had a 19-point lead at the half, 34-15.
Bishop Gorman played a lot of reserves in the second half and there was a lot more scoring as they got their lead up to 35 points at 80-45 but were never able to get to the running clock that starts with a 40 point lead. The most interesting part of the second half was noting the strong presence of a future star,T.J .Leaf who certainly impressed the fans and scouts on hand for this one.
Foothills Christian will now go to the Gold Division and play Lynwood, Ca high school at gym 2 at 7pm and the Knights assured of winning this game and that is because both teams have that nickname.
Foothills Christian---15-35 = 50
Bishop Gorman------34-48 = 82
Foothills Christian (50): Leaf 24, Monstrong 8, Sherman 6, Salgado-Villegas 5, Hoffman 4, Louden 3.
Three point goals: Sherman, Louden, Salgado-Villegas.
Bishop Gorman (82): Zimmerman 17, Muhammad 14, Blair 8, Robotham 7, Leumi 6, Guinn 6, Kennedy 6, Jeter 4,Tillman 4, Brown 3, Loupe 3, Stanley 2, (2 points missing).
Three point goals: Leumi 2, Brown.