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Las Vegas teams roll to upsets in Hoophall Classic finale

Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), the No. 6 team in the Super 25 boys basketball rankings, rolled past No. 2 Simeon (Chicago) 75-50, thanks to a stellar defense on Simeon power forward Jabari Parker and point guard Dominic Artis’ 21-point, eight-assist effort. Unranked Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) also made a strong statement with a 73-65 defeat of No. 3 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.). Shabazz Muhammad, rated by several recruiting services as the top player in the 2012 class, led Gorman with 37 points.

DeMatha threw several defenders at Muhammad, hoping to wear him down. Instead, he wore out the Stags (15-1) and his final two points came off a highlight dunk off the break.

“Shabazz is just so physical,” said Gaels coach Grant Rice. “Last year, he was 205 pounds. He’s about 225 now and he’s been in the weight room. Even though he’s a natural wing at the next level, if he needs to go down into the post, he’s going to go down in the post. He’ll blue-collar you. He has energy. For him to play 32 minutes with guys all over him and then to windmill it with a minute left, that shows you what kind of athlete is is.”

College coaches such as Kentucky’s John Calipari and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski lined the baseline for the day’s games, which included five Super 25 teams and several elite recruits, led by Muhammad, who said he plans to make three more official visits before deciding on his college. His list includes Duke, Kansas, Arizona, UCLA and UNLV.

“It’s kind of hard to forget who’s there,” Muhammad said. “The first couple of minutes I had a little bit of jitters and you get going, and then you don’t know if they’re there or not. I’m just weighing my options.”

Even with forward Ashley Bennett sidelined with back problems, Findlay (18-1) had too much depth for Simeon (15-1). Winston Shepard (16 points) did a particularly good job on Parker, especially in the second half. Parker had 15 points in the first half, but only nine in the second half and the last six points came once the game was decided.

“Of course, I felt good about that, but it was just in the flow of the game,” Shepard said. “Today, I had a big assignment and I felt like I did a good job.”

Artis was a blur, blowing past the Wolverines to set up easy baskets for Findlay.

“He’s really turned the corner for us,” Findlay Prep coach Mike Peck said. “At first, he was learning the system and understanding it’s not just about a high screen and roll. He’s done a great job of embracing that from watching Nigel (Williams-Goss).”

Findlay Prep (18-1) and Bishop Gorman (13-3) play on Saturday. Last year, Findlay Prep won the matchup 89-86.

“It’s a rivalry and we’re cool, but on the court, it’s a different story,” Shepard said.

Two other Super 25 teams came away with easy wins Monday at the Hoophall Classic. No. 4 St. Anthony (Jersey City) defeated Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) 60-48 as Kyle Anderson had 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Friars (12-0). A key in the game was St. Anthony’s switch to a 1-1-3 zone.

“One of my assistants, Ben Gamble, suggested we go to zone,” said St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley. “We started with it in the second half and never came out of it. I’m a genius, but Ben told me to do it.”

The move muffled Miller Grove center Tony Parker, an elite recruit who was held to six points and three rebounds.

“They surrounded me and made it hard for me to score,” Parker said. “My teammates weren’t able to help me that much, but we’ll take it back to the lab and we’ll be fine.”

In the event’s final game involving a Super 25 team, No. 18 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) rolled past Christ the King (Queens, N.Y.) 88-50 as Monarchs guard Katin Reinhardt scored 35 points, including nine three-pointers.

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