Findlay Prep proves to be too much for Gorman
By Case Keefer
Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009 | 2:01 a.m.

Bishop Gorman faced several disadvantages entering its game against Findlay Prep on Saturday at the Orleans Arena.

The Gaels had practiced as a team for less than a week and had no games to tune up for their contest against the No. 1 high school team in the country.

“There was just only so much we could do,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said.

And it just wasn’t enough. Despite a strong showing for its first game of the year, Gorman fell to Findlay, 65-52.

The Pilots led by as many as 23 points behind strong performances from top senior prospects Tristan Thompson, a Texas commit, and Cory Joseph, who was on his official visit to UNLV this weekend.

Thompson scored 19 points with seven rebounds, while Joseph scored 18 and directed the offense.

“Those are two veterans that played at a very high level,” Findlay coach Mike Peck said. “They are very talented players who have good poise and understand what it is we’re trying to accomplish.”

Joseph got the Pilots off to a fast start, scoring 10 points in the first seven minutes with shifty moves to the basket.

Although Gorman is known for its athleticism, no one was able to guard Joseph effectively early.

But Rice said he saw improvement as the game went on.

“I think we came together and started playing good team offense and good team defense,” Rice said. “That’s what it takes. The first half, we just weren’t in synch.”

It didn’t help that the 6-foot-10 Thompson created matchup problems for the Gaels. Issues that were intensified when Xavier Grimble got in early foul trouble.

Thompson sent Findlay into the locker room with a 35-16 lead by getting to the foul line regularly and finding his way to the rim.

“I just had to play my game,” Thompson said. “I just came out and did what coach told us we needed to do.”

Gorman looked to be in a much better rhythm in the second half when it actually outscored Findlay by six.

Sophomore Shabazz Muhammed, who finished with 10 points and six rebounds, threw down two memorable dunks. Late in the game, senior guard Jonathon Loyd, who had 10 points, tossed an alley-oop to senior Anson Winder that drew a loud ovation from the crowd.

Consider Findlay impressed. Both Peck and Thompson said they expected Gorman to compete for its second straight state championship.

“Especially for the first game, they are a really tough team,” Thompson said. “I think as the year goes on, they are going to get better and better.”

The Pilots improved to 11-0 this season, picking up their 44th-consecutive victory. They play at home Wednesday against Houston Christian Life Center.

“We played good today,” Thompson said. “There’s just a few things we need to work on.”