By Matt Turer — @MattTurer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The defending national champions were too big and too long for Glendale.
La Lumiere got double-doubles from three players, led by 22 points and 16 boards from Isaiah Stewart, in a 91-65 win over the Falcons in opening round play of the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions on Thursday.
Emanuel Miller finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds and Paxon Wojcik put up 14 points and 10 boards for USA Today No. 8 La Lumiere.
Monty Johal led all scorers with 27 points and Jaxon Davis finished with 20 for Glendale.
“I thought we fought, for the most part,” Glendale coach Brian McTague said. “We shot it normal for most high school teams. We didn’t shoot it as well as we’re capable of. La Lumiere makes it hard to even complete passes, let alone get good shots off.”
Glendale shot 32 percent from the field and was 11-34 from 3, which wasn’t enough against one of the nation’s best teams.
“We have to play a certain way,” McTague said. “We’re undersized, obviously. We have to make a certain number of 3s. We have to get to the free-throw line. We have to not turn the ball over. And we did one of those things well today.”
The Falcons only turned the ball over eight times.
Glendale led 13-10 after a Johal 3 with 3:09 left in the first quarter. That lead lasted 31 seconds but the Falcons managed to keep it close for most of the first half.
“They’re a good team,” La Lumiere coach Patrick Holmes said. “They’re well coached. They’re disciplined. They take care of the ball. They hit open shots and they spread the floor. We knew it was going to be difficult. We scouted them.
“Monty Johal is a very good basketball player. Our guy Grant Beucler has guarded him a little so we knew what they were going to do. Obviously having the size we’re blessed with helps us get down low and get easy shots.”
Glendale trailed 20-15 after one quarter despite a 2-9 mark from 3 in the opening eight minutes.
THE DIFFERENCE WAS
La Lumiere’s effectiveness inside. The Lakers were too big, too good and too fundamentally sound inside against the smaller Falcons.
The Lakers started to take advantage of that inside dominance late in the first half when it pushed a 29-26 lead with 5:24 to play to 48-35 by the end of the half.
La Lumiere had 30 points in the paint in the first half alone and 58 for the game.
“Competing against the length and width of [La Lumiere] on the defensive end was tough,” Johal said. “They’re big. They’re strong. There’s not that many guys around southwest Missouri that are that big.”
Glendale needed to be especially sharp from 3 to keep pace and a 6-18 mark from deep in the first half wasn’t enough to keep it close for more than 1.5 quarters.
La Lumiere’s lead grew from three to 10 with a 10-3 run late in the first half after Glendale pulled within 29-26 at the 5:24 mark of the second.
La Lumiere pushed its lead over 20 for the first time at 76-55 on a Campbell bucket with 7:37 left in the game.
A running clock kicked in with La Lumiere’s 87-57 lead with 3:34 to play but didn’t last the remainder of the game with Glendale pulling back within 30.
Glendale: The Falcons move over to the consolation bracket and get a shot at another USA Today nationally ranked opponent in No. 14 Wasatch Academy at 4:30 pm at JQH. Wasatch dropped its opening game to Brentwood Academy, 57-46.
La Lumiere: The Lakers move on to the semifinals and will face Brentwood Academy at 8 pm on Friday inside JQH.