Justin Yamzon needed little assistance in the first half of Saturday’s game against Moapa Valley.
With Lake Mead facing a tenacious zone defense, the sharp-shooting guard took priorities into his own hands and single-handedly piloted the Eagles to victory.
Yamzon scored 20 of his team’s 22 first-half points, and finished with 39 points as Lake Mead pulled away from the Pirates 59-45 in the consolation final of the Vegas Invitational at Mountain View.
“It feels good,” said Yamzon, who also was named to the all-tournament team. “We came out here with a lot of intensity tonight and we just tried to play with our emotions; play hard, and make the best of what it is.”
The 5-foot-7-inch star, who will play at Brigham Young University-Hawaii next season, tallied all 16 of the Eagles’ points in the second quarter. Yamzon’s offensive outburst was highlighted by a four-point play with 18.6 seconds remaining in the half.
“I think a lot of our bigs set a lot of great screens to free me up,” said Yamzon, who faced a constant stream of double teams. “Our shooters were spacing, so it took their help away from me.”
With a pair of defenders barring down on him, Yamzon banked in a 3-pointer from the right wing. He was fouled in the act of shooting and sank the free throw.
“The best compliment to him is, he’s scoring 26, 30, 40 points, and it’s an average night,” Lake Mead coach Jeff Newton said. “Nothing he does surprises me. It’s funny how we’re so spoiled to have such a great kid like him.”
Still, the Pirates trailed only 22-18 at the break on the strength of five 3-pointers. Defensively, the Eagles swarmed in on one of Moapa Valley’s main strengths, eliminating its ability to cut underneath the basket.
“We have an option in our offense that’s like that,” Newton said. “We always said if we can’t defend our own stuff, we’re screwed. We knew they did the UCLA cut and their forward will down pick. That’s stuff that we do.”
Hampered by 12 second-half turnovers, Lake Mead managed to lengthen its lead in the fourth quarter. With just a shade more than two minutes remaining, Dylan Graham ignited a 10-0 stretch with two fast-break layups that were assisted by Yamzon. Graham scored all 12 of his points in the second half.
“Dylan brings a lot of aggressiveness,” Newton said. “He’s a very athletic kid, and when he learns how to play position defense, he’s going to be even better.”
Junior guard Jeremy Waite had 10 points and two steals, and teammate Landon Willard added nine points on 3 of 5 shooting from the 3-point arc for the Pirates.
“They’re a tough team,” Yamzon said. “Defensively, they lock down on their ball screens, and that’s really going to help us in league. We’re going to see that with a bunch of different teams.”
Yamzon was named to the all-tournament team, along with Rancho’s Josiah Timpson, Sunrise Mountain’s Jason Ford, Buckley (Calif.)’s Chase Holiday and Santana (Calif.)’s Dustin Murphy. Isaac Murillo of tournament champion St. Joseph (Calif.) was named the Most Valuable Player.
Santana (Calif.) 61, Rancho 45 — Murphy poured in 27 points, and the Sultans used a 26-10 run during the middle two quarters to top the Rams in the third-place game.
Christian Barry added 12 points for Santana.
Joseph Ortiz had 19 points, and Timpson scored 11 for Rancho.
Tech 61, Mountain View 41 — Josh West poured in 12 of his 17 points in the first half, and the Roadrunners used a 20-5 run at the start of the game to speed past the Saints.
Bryan Catenza tallied 16 points for Tech, which shot 51 percent (17-for-33) from the field in the first half to build a 42-19 halftime lead.
T.J. Kissinger led Mountain View with 11 points.
Pahrump Valley 62, Abundant Life (Utah) 37 — The Trojans hit eight 3-pointers and built on a 41-22 halftime advantage to blow past the Warriors.
Adam Brand added 10 points for Pahrump, which held Abundant Life to two points in the second quarter and three points in the fourth.
The Meadows 59, Spring Mountain 48 — Brian Fridman and Eric Hisberg each scored 17 points to drive the Mustangs past the Eagles.
Matthew Biafore chipped in 14 points for The Meadows, which used a 14-7 advantage in the fourth quarter to pull away.
Develle Williams contributed 22 points for Spring Mountain.
Mountain View 73, Word of Life 25 — The Saints had 13 players score en route to a win over the Eagles.
Josh Bennett tallied 10 points, and Matthew Larson chipped in nine points for Mountain View.
Joe Visser paced Word of Life with 10 points.
Sunrise Mountain 66, Agassi Prep 33 — Ford registered 15 points, and the Miners used a 42-16 halftime lead to drop the Stars.
Ricco Lucas added 11 points for Sunrise Mountain, which got nine points from A’keem Ross.
Wa’t Manor led Agassi Prep with nine points.
Sage Hill (Calif.) 56, Calvary Chapel 49 — C.J. McCord scored 28 points, and the Lightning outscored the Lions 35-18 in the second half to grab the victory.
Drew Hammond had 23 points for Calvary Chapel, which got 14 points from Zac Yates.