L.J. Yamzon generously is listed at 5 feet 5 inches on the Lake Mead boys basketball roster.
But nothing is small about his impact on the court, and the sophomore point guard’s play is a big reason why the Eagles’ rebuilding process appears to be ahead of schedule.
Yamzon scored 23 points to lead the Eagles to a 65-52 win over Calvary (Calif.) in a consolation semifinal at the Lake Mead Holiday Classic on Friday.
In four games at the tournament, Yamzon has knocked down 19 3-pointers, including six against Calvary.
“He’s a great shooter, but I like his intelligence even more,” Lake Mead coach Jeff Newton said. “He’s a remarkable ball-handler and distributor of the ball. I like those qualities more than the shooting.”
Yamzon hit his first three 3-pointers in the first quarter to help Lake Mead (3-2) build a 19-4 lead. He finished 7-for-12 from the floor.
Yamzon has taken on a leadership role as the lone returning starter from a team that was the Class 1A state runner-up last year. He’ll need to, as the Eagles will compete in 2A this season.
“I’m just trying to step in as a leader and help these guys out,” Yamzon said. “We’ve got a bunch of young guys coming up, and we’re getting better.”
The Eagles have only four letter winners back from last season, and eight of the team’s 11 players are freshmen or sophomores.
Still, Lake Mead’s only loss at the tournament was a 47-45 defeat Friday to Beatty, which will play Pahranagat Valley in the tournament title game at 2 p.m. today.
Newton was pleased with the progress his young players showed against Calvary, including sophomore post Wesley Brule (15 points, six rebounds) and junior wing Jordan Tillman (15 points, five rebounds).
“They’re progressing, but the best is yet to come,” Newton said. “It seems like every game, they become more aggressive and understand the system.”
Lake Mead will play Spring Mountain for the consolation title at 11 a.m. today.
Beatty 69, Lincoln County 66 — Anthony Turner scored 20 points to lead the Hornets to the semifinal victory over the Lynx.
Miky Gaitan scored 18 points and Ramiro Hernandez added 12 points for Beatty.
Gaitan nailed a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Hornets a 65-64 lead in the final two minutes, and Beatty led the rest of the way.
Dantley Walker poured in 35 points, and Chandler Katschke scored 20 for the Lynx.
Pahrangat Valley 44, Pahrump Valley 40 — Cody Hosier scored 17 points to help the Panthers down the Trojans in the other semifinal.
A layup by Pahrump’s Bret Kunzi pulled the Trojans to within 41-40 in the final minute, but Hosier sank a free throw and Chase Hansen came up with a steal and layup to give the Panthers the edge.
James Munger scored 14 points and Dajhan Celius had 11 for Pahrump.
Spring Mountain 70, Lutheran (Calif.) 13 — Andrew Cavanaugh scored 15 points to lead the Eagles to the easy win.
Chris McKinney added 14 points and Shaquon Jones had 12 for Spring Mountain, which outscored Lutheran 22-0 in the third quarter.
Calvary Chapel 44, Lutheran (Calif.) 12 — Bobby Buist scored 15 points to lead the Lions to the win.
Cody Taylor added nine points for Calvary Chapel, which bolted to a 32-6 halftime lead.
Pahranagat Valley 47, Spring Mountain 39 — Kade Wadsworth scored 11 points and Hosier added 10 points to lead the Panthers past the Eagles.
Pahranagat Valley outscored Spring Mountain 16-8 in the fourth quarter to pull away.
McKinney led the Eagles with 16 points.
Beatty 47, Lake Mead 45 — Hernandez scored 14 points and Ivan Maldonado supplied 13 to help the Hornets hold on for the win over the Eagles.
Cris Cockrell had 14 points and Brule added 10 points for Lake Mead, which trailed 16-7 after the first quarter.
Lincoln County 90, Calvary (Calif.) 48 — Katschke scored 27 points, and Walker contributed 24 points to lift the Lynx to the easy win.
Brian Kirchesh added 10 points for Lincoln County.
Pahrump Valley 54, Calvary Chapel 23 — Celius had 15 points and five rebounds to lead the Trojans past the Lions.
Ten players scored for Pahrump, which used a 22-5 run in the third quarter to pull away.
Lake Mead 47, Calvary (Calif.) 31 — Jordan Clarke scored 18 points and Taylor Badua-Kono added 17 points to carry the Eagles to the victory.
Basic JV 25, Beatty 21 — Beatty’s Alyssa Regalado scored seven points, but the Hornets were unable to erase an 18-10 halftime deficit and fell to Basic’s junior varsity squad.
Lake Mead 56, Beatty 23 — Jordan Clarke scored 24 points to lead the Eagles past the Hornets.
Taylor Badua-Kono scored 13 points to help Lake Mead, and teammate Colleen Zumaran added 12 points.
Calvary Chapel 35, The Meadows 18 — Deja Harris and Phallen Nelson each scored 10 points to lead the Lions past the Mustangs.
Indian Springs 25, Calvary (Calif.) 15 — Tessa Lounsbury and Karys Melgoza each scored six points to lead the Thunderbirds to a victory.
Calvary (Calif.) 27, The Meadows 24 — The Mustangs outscored Calvary 18-13 in the second half, but the comeback came up short.
Grace Warburton led the Meadows with nine points and five rebounds. Melanie Mayes added six points and nine rebounds for the Mustangs, who trailed 12-0 after the first quarter.
Lutheran (Calif.) 17, The Meadows 12 — Sarah Aziz and Amber Peterson each scored four points to lead the Mustangs, who fell short with a second-half rally.
Beatty 54, Basic JV 16 — The Hornets moved into the consolation final by routing Basic’s junior varsity.