QUEENS, N.Y. – Huntington Prep’s first-ever appearance at the Dick’s Sporting Goods National High School Invitational proved to be a memorable contest on Thursday afternoon.
JaQuan Lyle spotted up on the wing and drained a 3-pointer from right beside the Huntington Prep bench at the buzzer to give the Irish a 65-63 win over La Lumiere (Ind.) in the first round of the tournament at Christ The King High School in Queens, N.Y.
Lyle’s 3-pointer capped a final 30 seconds in which the lead switched hands three times in an exciting start to the tournament.
“When I let the ball go, it felt real good,” Lyle said. “Just watching it go through the net and all my teammates came onto the court - I’m not even sure the time had gone off the clock yet – but it just felt wonderful and I’m glad we got the win.”
On the game-winning play, La Lumiere denied the Irish a lob into the paint for big man Thomas Bryant so point guard Josh Perkins came to get the in-bounds. He kicked to Lyle, who elevated above La Lumiere’s Jalen Coleman for the game-winning shot.
“They did a really good job of being physical and guarding the actual play,” Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford said. “Sometimes kids just have to step up and make a play and obviously he made a huge shot.”
The shot came just 15 seconds after Coleman had connected on an open 3-pointer from the wing to put the Lakers up by one.
Coleman’s shot had answered a dunk by Huntington Prep’s Thomas Bryant off a feed from Lyle that gave the Irish a 62-60 lead with 25 seconds remaining.
Montaque Gill-Caesar led Huntington Prep (28-4) with 20 points – many of which came in big situations. Gill-Caesar scored five straight points midway through the fourth quarter to give the Irish their first lead since late in the first half and also jumpstarted a run late in the third quarter to help the Irish overcome a six-point deficit.
La Lumiere (22-3) led 47-41 after an offensive rebound and a 3-pointer by Drew Cayce with 2:15 left in the third quarter.
After the teams traded baskets, Gill-Caesar hit a 3-pointer and started a transition opportunity that led to a 3-point play for Jalen Lindsey to knot the game at 49 heading into the final quarter.
La Lumiere coach Alan Huss said the turn of events proved to be decisive for his team.
“We had a chance to really extend that lead and we had a couple of really bad mental mistakes there…,” Huss said. “We just didn’t cut out and that’s something this team has done for the last two months. That was disappointing, obviously.”
Despite a size advantage, La Lumiere crashed the offensive glass hard in the third quarter to forge the lead. The glass dominance was led by Alex Olesinski, but he went to the bench in the third after picking up his third foul midway through the quarter.
With Olesinski out, Sam Logwood picked up the offensive slack, scoring 10 of his 14 points in the third quarter to aid the Lakers.
La Lumiere took a 34-31 lead into the locker room after Drew Cayce hit the Lakers’ sixth 3-pointer of the first half.
It was the Lakers’ first lead of the contest as Huntington Prep jumped out to a 10-0 lead to start the game based off the team’s energy on the defensive end.
“I thought we just weren’t ready to play at the beginning of the game,” Huss said. “When you take five weeks off, it’s a challenge. We thought we did our best to have them energized and ready to play. Obviously, to start the game we weren’t. We just kind of lost our minds.”
However, the game’s tempo and momentum started to turn late in the first quarter when Lindsey, the team’s defensive leader, picked up his second foul on a jumper by Coleman.
Coleman went 5-of-5 at the line during a 10-2 run to end the quarter and cut the Irish lead to 17-15.
In addition to Gill-Caesar’s 20 points, Huntington Prep got 14 points from Bryant and 11 each from Lindsey and Lyle, who also had six assists and five rebounds.
Coleman finished with 16 to lead La Lumiere, but he was limited to 3-of-15 shooting on the day. Longwood added 14 while Cayce netted 11 and Olesinski added 10 points and 11 rebounds.
LA LUMIERE 15 19 15 14 – 63: Olesinski 10, Toye 6, J. Coleman 16, Tutu 6, Logwood 14, Cayce 11
HUNTINGTON PREP 17 14 18 16 – 65: Gill-Caesar 20, Perkins 5, Lindsey 11, Lyle 11, Bryant 14, Bridges 4