Findlay Prep, ranked No. 2 nationally by USA Today, used its superior quickness and speed to jump on Rice (N.Y.) and roll to an 84-64 victory Tuesday in the finals of the Rock Holiday Classic at Henderson International.
Findlay Prep (12-0) forced eight turnovers in the first six minutes, and the Raiders were quickly down by double digits.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Victor Rudd led the Pilots with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Rice didn’t connect on its first field goal until the 3:09 mark of the first period, as Findlay Prep’s swarming defense gave the Raiders trouble.
The Raiders made just five field goals in the first half as the Pilots built a 38-28 halftime lead.
“They came out and played extremely hard from the beginning,” Findlay Prep coach Mike Peck said. “They are a great bunch of kids to coach, they want to learn, and that’s a great feeling as a coach. At times, they get down on themselves a bit much, but that’s because they want to be successful.”
Things didn’t get better for Rice in the second half. The Raiders committed four straight turnovers during a two-minute stretch of the third period.
Rudd, a senior, impressed the crowd during that stretch, with a steal that led to a reverse dunk.
Avery Bradley also had 16 points for the Pilots, D.J. Richardson added 15 and Cory Joseph had 14.
“This was a solid game for us,” Peck said. “We want people to think after playing 32 minutes against us it feels like 92 minutes. If we bring that type of intensity, good things will happen.”
As for his team’s lofty ranking, Peck didn’t hesitate when asked if Findlay Prep deserves the recognition.
“I really think so,” he said. “However, when the ball goes up, you don’t get points for rankings. You still have to play basketball.”
Rice’s Jermaine Sanders had a game-high 24 points.
In other games:
South Miami Senior 78, Henderson International 39 — In the seventh-place contest, Keion Palmer had 26 points to lead the Cobras past the Wolverines.
Danny Moerman and Josh Young had 12 points each for Henderson International, which trailed 25-4 after one quarter.
South Eugene (Ore.) 58, Lake Mead 53 — Spencer Coleman’s big second half helped the Axemen overcome Landon Littlefield’s 18-point performance and defeat the Eagles in the fifth-place game.
Coleman finished with 21 points after being held scoreless in the first half.
Demetrius Turner added 11 points for Lake Mead, which attempted only six free throws.