Spokane's Central Valley girls, featuring Stanford-bound twins Lexie and Lacie Hull, play Friday against Georgia’s Westlake on ESPNU.
Garfield was outmatched in its GEICO Nationals debut.
The Bulldogs, seeded seventh, faced No. 2 Oak Hill Academy of Virginia in the opener of the boys high-school basketball tournament on Thursday in New York and lost 75-53.
The Warriors (44-1) played majority of the game without McDonald’s All-American Keldon Johnson, who suffered an apparent ankle injury in the first quarter. Not having the Kentucky-bound guard didn’t matter as Oak Hill forced 25 turnovers and overpowered Garfield (28-2) inside the paint.
USC commit J’Raan Brooks and junior Jamon Kemp led Garfield on both ends. Brooks, a 6-foot-9 forward finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Kemp, a 6-5 wing who put his team on the board with a three-pointer, finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Guard PJ Fuller led the Bulldogs offensively all season, but had just nine points in the nationally televised game on ESPNU.
Spokane’s Central Valley girls team also was invited to participate in the prestigious tournament. The Bears (27-0) will play Georgia’s Westlake (30-1) on Friday at 10 a.m. PST on ESPNU. Washington’s Class 4A state champs feature Stanford-bound twins Lexie and Lacie Hull.
“You can’t simulate their size, skill and coaching,” Garfield coach Brandon Roy said of Oak Hill, a baptist boarding school. “I was worried about that, because our players are not used to seeing that.”
Florida-bound Keyontae Johnson led four Warriors to score in double figures with 19 points and nine rebounds. Teammate David McCormak had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Oak Hill will play University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) on Friday in the semifinals. Garfield, which won the boys Class 3A state tournament title earlier this month, will remain in New York through Saturday and visit some popular tourist sites, according to Roy.
“It’s a great experience for the players to play in big moments and in New York,” he said. “This is a big event and it’s disappointing that we did not get off to a good start. Oak Hill is a great program and we were a little nervous in the first quarter missing some bunnies. I’m happy that our guys were able to have this experience and learn/grow from it. We’ll return a lot of guys that know what it takes to get here.”
Roy likely would have fared better at the tournament when invited as coach of Nathan Hale last year. He had the nation’s top recruit in McDonald’s All-American Michael Porter Jr. and his younger brother Jontay, a four-star prospect. They’re currently playing for Missouri.
But Hale declined the invite due to multiple reasons, including Michael playing in the All-American game the day before the national tournament began.