Marvin Bagley III says he and Cody Riley form one big heart. The tandem are really good at playing basketball together, too.
The Trailblazers’ duo were devastating in the low post and on the boards against Memphis East, combining for 40 points and 28 rebounds to lead Sierra Canyon to a 75-59 victory Saturday night at JQH Arena in front of a single-night tournament record 10,729 fans.
“Great feeling, great way to win the game,” said Bagley, who was named tournament MVP. “We came out slow. At halftime, we got our minds back in it and we came out and finished the game strong.
“We got what we came to get done.”
The victory was redemption for Sierra Canyon, a year after the Trailblazers lost by one point in the finals after Oak Hill’s Tyshon Alexander made a game-winning 3-pointerat the buzzer.
“It’s a wonderful feeling,” said Sierra Canyon coach Ty Nichols. “Number one, to be invited back the second year and then to actually come back and win the tournament in front of an amazing crowd. It’s a memory that these kids will have the rest of their lives.
The powerful 6’9” Riley – a UCLA commit – and the multi-faceted 7-footer Bagley – rated by many recruiting websites as the top player in the junior class – led the way for the Trailblazers.
Riley overwhelmed Memphis East with his strength around the basket, leading all players in points (22) and rebounds (16). He was also 10-for-14 at the free throw line.
Bagley – who was ruled ineligible last season after moving from Arizona – added 18 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. Sierra Canyon, ranked No. 10 nationally by USA Today, out-rebounded Memphis East, 44-29.
“It’s heart. You’ve gotta have heart,” Bagley said of Sierra Canyon’s rebounding. “Cody has a lot of heart. Myself, I’m a competitor. I have heart. We put those two hearts together, it’s one big heart.
“We came out, played tough and rebounded the ball well. We played as a team. I looked for him, I found him. He found me. It fed off to the rest of the team and we did a good job.”
Sierra Canyon (Calif.) only led by five (50-45) with 5:23 remaining. The Trailblazers scored seven points in the next 37 seconds, highlighted by a three-point play from Riley.
Memphis East, ranked No. 3 nationally by USA Today, never got the deficit under single digits again. A Bagley dunk with 1:40 remaining gave Sierra Canyon a 68-55 lead.
The Trailblazers sealed their victory with sound fourth-quarter free throw shooting. Sierra Canyon was 18-for-23 at the line in the fourth, and 28-for-39 overall for the game.
“I thought (Riley and Marvin) were the key down the stretch, especially in the second half,” Nichols said. “Them in the second half and our free throw shooting were the difference in the game.”
Remy Martin (14 points) and Adam Seiko (15 points) also reached double figures for Sierra Canyon, which improved to 15-1 overall.
Memphis East (14-3 overall), a public school, got 21 points and nine rebounds from Chandler Lawson. The Mustangs were 2-for-17 on 3-point attempts and shot only 30 percent (21-for-68) from the field overall.
The announced attendance of 10,729 marks the largest single-night crowd ever for the Tournament of Champions. This year’s three-day attendance total was 26,959, also a tournament record.
Sierra Canyon 75, Memphis East 59
Memphis East 15 6 15 23 — 59
Sierra Canyon 10 13 22 30 — 75
Memphis East – Chandler Lawson 21, Antavion Collum 12, T.J. Moss 9, Jayden Hardaway 5, Nick Merriweather 4, Alex Lomax 4, Radarious Washington 2, Malcom Dandridge 2
Sierra Canyon – Cody Riley 22, Marvin Bagley III 18, Adam Seiko 15, Remy Martin 14, Terrance McBride 5, Michael Feinberg 1
Montverde Academy drops Findlay Prep in 3rd place game
R.J. Barrett came to Springfield on Wednesday, averaged 21 points during the Tournament of Champions, and signed a lot of autographs in the process.
Barrett, a 5-star rated sophomore with offers from the likes of Duke, Kansas and Kentucky, capped an all-tournament worthy weekend with 28 points (9-for-23 from the field) and a game-high 13 rebounds in Montverde’s 79-65 win over Findlay Prep (Nev.).
“It was an amazing crowd tonight,” Barrett said. “There were a lot of people here tonight, but they weren’t biased. It was exciting to play in that environment.”
Montverde (Fla.) lead 35-33 at halftime and outscored Findlay Prep by 11 (21-10) in a game-swinging third quarter. Sophomore Andrew Nembhard scored 14 and North Carolina commit Rechon Black added 12 points for Montverde (14-2 overall).
Findlay Prep (19-3 overall) got 26 points and 11 rebounds from Kentucky commit P.J. Washington. He and Barrett were matched up often.
Lamine Diane, a 3-star senior forward with offers from Baylor and Southern Utah, added 22 points and nine rebounds while shooting 11-for-18 from the field.
After (likely) signing some more autographs, Barrett and his Montverde teammates will fly out of Springfield on Sunday morning and head to Springfield, Mass. Montverde will play there Monday in the Hoophall Classic.
“I signed a lot (of autographs) this weekend, a lot,” Barrett laughed. “It’s fun though. I love doing it for the kids because they show me so much appreciation and love.”
Montverde 79, Findlay Prep 65
Montverde 18 17 21 23 — 79
Findlay Prep 16 17 10 22 — 65
Montverde – Rowan Barrett 28, Andrew Nembhard 14, Rechon Black 12, Sandro Mamukelashvili 8, Jake Betlow 6, Grant Shepard 5, Marcus Carr 4, Sean Mobley 2
Findlay Prep – P.J. Washington 26, Lamine Diane 22, Chris Giles 8, Justin Roberts 7, Reggie Chaney 2