Cade Pierce was instrumental in Glenbard West’s 60-28 win over Lyon in the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic championship game on Friday in York.
The senior had six points, eight assists and four rebounds. But his team’s victory in the holiday tournament did not go very well on the Pierce family calendar.
“No one from my family is here,” Pierce said. “They are all looking at my brother. i stay with [teammate Braden Huff’s family]. Obviously, they have other priorities.
Pierce’s older brother Alec is Cincinnati’s top receiver. And York’s title game straddled the Bearcats’s College Football Playoff game against Alabama in the Cotton Bowl.
“I recorded it and told everyone not to mention a score,” Pierce said.
The Hilltoppers led the field in the 32-team York-Alabama-style tournament. They beat Rolling Meadows 58-40 in the semi-finals, Leo 69-46 in the quarter-finals and St. Patrick 67-40 in the second round after a first round pass.
Lyon (11-3) entered on a streak of eight consecutive victories. But the Lions clearly don’t fit the long Hilltoppers. Glenbard West defeated Lyon 71-34 on December 3.
“It’s just that our defensive length is causing a lot of problems for the teams,” said Pierce. “I don’t think it’s Lyon alone. We are improving more and more in our clashes and rotations in the 1-3-1 defense. Our best is yet to come.
Huff, a Gonzaga rookie, led the Hilltopppers (14-0) with 21 points. Paxton Warden scored 12 and Bobby Durkin added 11.
“We faced some pretty tough teams in the tournament,” said Ryan Renfro, senior at Glenbard West. “We were delighted to play Bolingbrook. It would have been a good game. But that’s what it is. We learn from every game “
Lyon beat Bolingbrook in the semi-final. Head guard Tavari Johnson, a rookie from Akron, scored 28 points against the Raiders. Glenbard West limited it to just two points. Niklas Polonowski led the Lions with 11.
“We really messed up their passing angles, especially early on,” Hilltoppers coach Jason Opoka said. “They turned it over and we capitalized. [Durkin] hit three big three to get us going. It gave us confidence and we never looked back.
Glenbard West has some interesting games looming on the horizon. The Hilltoppers welcome Larkin, who won the Jacobs tournament, on January 12. They will face Young in a shootout in Benet on January 22.
Opoka has said he’s about to finalize a monster showdown with Kenwood. The Broncos eliminated Young on Thursday in the Proviso West Holiday tournament title game. Kenwood and Glenbard West are generally considered the two best teams in the state.
The contracts are yet to be signed but the match will take place on February 5 at the Wintrust Arena. It’s part of a doubles program with Simeon against Sierra Canyon, Calif. The California team is one of the best in the country. It is run by Bronny, the son of LeBron James, and Amari Bailey, originally from Chicago.