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Findlay Prep knocks out defending champ Oak Hill in quarterfinals of Dick’s Nationals


Findlay Prep’s P.J. Washington didn’t have much time for rest after playing in the McDonald’s All American game on Wednesday night in Chicago.

The Kentucky-bound senior, who fell asleep on Central Time Zone, needed to hop on a plane just a few hours later to reach New York City for his final high school basketball tournament.

Not a problem.

Showing no side effects of jet lag or fatigue, Washington tallied 22 points, four rebounds, three assists and five blocks Thursday to help No. 4 seed Findlay Prep knock off defending national champion and fifth-seeded Oak Hill (Virginia) 77-65 in the quarterfinals of the Dick’s High School Nationals Tournament at Christ the King High School.

“I definitely won’t be waking him up for breakfast (tomorrow),” Findlay Prep coach Paul Washington Sr. joked.

It was the second time the Pilots defeated Oak Hill this season.

“I thought we played a good, team game,” Washington Sr. said. “We had a couple guys (score) over 20 — three guys. So I liked the fact that all the kids came out and stepped up.”

Findlay Prep (34-3) will meet top-seeded La Lumiere (Indiana) in the semifinals at 2 p.m. Friday at Christ the King. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

La Lumiere defeated Findlay Prep 69-54 in the Cancer Research Classic on Jan. 7 in West Virginia — a game in which the Pilots missed four-star senior Donnie Tillman, who was nursing an ankle injury.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” Washington Sr. said. “I’m excited we finally have a team at full health. The last time we played (La Lumiere), we were without Donnie. He’s a tough-minded kid. And we have Spencer (Washington) to come off the bench. We have 12 healthy kids right now, so we’re excited to see what we can do.”

On Thursday, the Pilots came out inspired to reach the semis. They scored the first nine points of the game, including a monster dunk by Washington, and built a 15-5 lead midway through the first quarter to grab momentum. But they would need to rally from a 32-31 halftime deficit and six-point hole in the third quarter to pull it out.

Washington scored nine of the team’s 18 points in the third quarter, and the Findlay Prep defense held Oak Hill scoreless for the final four minutes of the period to grab a five-point advantage. The Warriors missed their last nine shots of the third quarter, and the Pilots pulled away in the fourth with a decisive 12-4 run to make it 61-48 with 5:10 remaining.

“We did a good job in our press and creating turnovers,” Washington Sr. said. “We talked about it at halftime that we shouldn’t have 11 turnovers. And we talked about getting off the ball sooner and not holding it. Defensively, we sat in a zone and wanted them to make shots — whenever a team shoots like that, it makes it tough. We felt good about our chances.”

Findlay Prep shot 56.9 percent from the field, and received solid contributions from Lamine Diane (21 points on 10 of 13 shooting), Reggie Chaney (21 points, nine rebounds) and Tillman (six points, 10 boards).

Billy Preston, the game’s other McDonald’s All-American, led Oak Hill with 21 points, nine rebounds and two assists. The Kansas commit finished 9-for-14 shooting from the field.

Lindell Wigginton added 13 points and seven assists, Ty-Shon Alexander had 11 points, and Devontae Shuler contributed nine points and 12 rebounds for the Warriors (39-5).