No one can accuse Bishop Gorman boys basketball coach Grant Rice of scheduling a cupcake for his team’s season opener.
All Rice and the Gaels did was schedule a team with a No. 1 national ranking.
Findlay Prep, ranked No. 1 by ESPN RISE, held Gorman to 16 first-half points on the way to a 65-52 win over the Gaels at the Orleans Arena on Saturday.
“We weren’t quite ready that first half,” Rice said. “There was only so much we could do, and they just jumped on us.”
Cory Joseph, one of the nation’s top unsigned seniors, scored 14 first-half points as the Pilots (11-0) took a 35-16 lead at the break.
That big lead left defending Class 4A state champion Gorman, the area’s top-ranked high school team, unable to recover against the nation’s No. 1 team.
The Pilots players attend Henderson International while barnstorming around the nation as a basketball power. Findlay Prep is not governed by any association, and is not eligible to compete for a state championship.
The Pilots’ 11-player roster features athletes from four states and five foreign countries.
That group held Gorman to 9-for-30 shooting from the field in the first half.
“We knew we just had to come out there and contain them as much as possible,” Joseph said. “Defense wins the game, so we knew we had to focus on defense there.”
Rice said he thought his team had opportunities to make the game closer.
“I really felt like it should have been about an eight- to 10-point game at half, and we would have been right there,” Rice said. “But we let up a few things we shouldn’t have.”
Gorman especially struggled against Joseph and 6-foot-10-inch Tristan Thompson, who has committed to play at Texas. Both players had 20 points.