High-SchoolIllinois: Hoophall Classic
January, 16, 2012
By Mike Grimala | ESPN.com
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — There will likely be a new team atop the next POWERADE FAB 50 rankings after No. 1 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) fell to No. 6 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), 75-50, at the Spalding Hoophall Classic on Monday.
Simeon never found its offense, frequently forcing bad shots and allowing Findlay to run out on the fast break after misses. For the game, Simeon shot just 4 of 24 on 3-point attempts (16.7 percent), while Findlay Prep shot 66.7 percent from downtown (61 percent overall).
The game was also billed as a matchup of two of the country’s top players — Simeon junior Jabari Parker and Findlay Prep senior Brandon Ashley. Parker, the No. 1 player in the ESPNU 60, was solid with 24 points and 12 rebounds, but the smooth superstar felt he could have done more to stop Findlay from pulling away in the second half.
J. Anthony Roberts/ESPNHSWinston Shepard finished with high-flying dunks all night against Simeon.
“I waited too long to get it going,” said Parker. “I didn’t do a lot of scoring in the third quarter. If I don’t show up, my team’s going to lose by a lot of points.”
Ashley, the No. 4 player in the ESPNU 100, posted 13 points and nine boards, including back-to-back dunks to seal the game in the fourth quarter. He also received more help from his teammates.
Findlay Prep junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss chipped in 18 points, and senior guard Dominic Artis (No. 72 in the ESPNU 100) earned Player of the Game honors with 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
The 6-foot-2 Williams-Goss also drew plenty of attention with his defensive performance, even switching onto the 6-foot-8 Parker at times and doing a good job.
“Obviously, our focus was on [Simeon junior guard] Kendrick Nunn and Jabari Parker,” said Williams-Goss. “I took it personally, because I knew I’d have to defend both of them during the game.”
Williams-Goss also said that Findlay Prep felt it had something to prove at Hoophall.
“We had a slip-up earlier in the season with our loss to La Lumiere,” he said. “But it was motivation to us that Simeon was ranked No. 1. We feel we’re still the best team in the country. Being No. 1, that put a bull’s-eye on their back and we were coming for them.”
Findlay Prep’s victory was even more impressive considering that the team was without senior forward Anthony Bennett, the No. 7 player in the ESPNU 100. Bennett sat out the game with a hamstring injury.
Simeon dropped to 14-1 with the loss. The Wolverines have spent the entire season at No. 1 in the POWERADE FAB 50, but the blowout loss is likely to drop them at least several spots. Findlay Prep improved to 16-1 with the win.
There were plenty of top college coaches on hand, presumably to get a close look at Parker, who is still uncommitted. Among those in the crowd were Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Kentucky's John Calipari.
After the game, Parker said he hasn’t formed any list of college favorites yet. “I’m wide open,” he said.
Mike Grimala covers high school sports for ESPNHS. Follow him on Twitter @ESPNHSGrimala or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.