The drama on the final night of the ‘Iolani Prep Classic took an unusual twist this time.
In the end, La Lumiere, from La Porte, Ind. hoisted the koa trophy. La Lumiere ran the table with a 4-0 mark to capture the Classic championship. The Lakers’ 72-58 win over Oak Ridge (Fla.) capped the run, but they had to wait for Sierra Canyon (Calif.) and Montverde (Fla.) to go to battle in the final game of the tourney.
Montverde, which lost to La Lumiere in Friday’s semifinal round, knocked off Sierra Canyon 57-49. Through all the reshuffled pairings due to La Lumiere’s independent status — California Interscholastic Federation members cannot play independent teams — there wound up being no co-champions this year.
Coach Patrick Holmes has already said that one game, even an upset over No. 1 Montverde, doesn’t take away from the big picture, the length of the season. But winning the ‘Iolani Classic with great defense is unforgettable.
“I’m happy for our guys. It’s a great event, a lot of great teams. Obviously, it didn’t work out where we could play Sierra Canyon for a championship,” Holmes said. “It kind of felt like they were getting slept on a little bit, but they came out and defended. I always told them our defense is going to lead to our offense. We really grinded it out for four good games.”
While the battle on Saturday against Oak Ridge was tough, La Lumiere’s defense proved too much of an edge.
“We work on defense for an hour a day each practice,” all-tournament team selection Keion Brooks noted. “We hate it because Coach Pat doesn’t let up on us. He says we have to defend if we’re want to win tough games. We were able to come here and defend against tough teams and win a championship.”
La Lumiere’s win over Montverde could shift the rankings by MaxPreps and USA Today. For now, the Lakers and their fans who made the trip to Hawaii are in jubilant delight.
“Oh yeah, 5 a.m. lifts (in the weight room), we’re up early and working. Hard work pays off. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We get Fridays off,” said Isaiah Stewart, the Classic’s most valuable player.
Brooks’ ability to defend at the rim and hit 3’s was a major advantage for the Lakers.
“It’s good to see that the hard work we’re putting in, we’re getting something out of it,” said Brooks, a 6-8 wing. “Getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning to go lift, it’s not easy. When you get a championship, you reap the benefits for how hard you’re working.”