Whitney Young (Ill.), which was eliminated in the semifinals of the Beach Ball Classic last year, was trying not to prove a similar fate on Saturday.
The Dolphins, who are ranked No. 4 in MaxPreps Xcellent 25 and loaded with talent, proved that they belong at the top following a 67-43 win over Scott County (Ky.).
L.J. Peak, a transfer from Gaffney, had a game-high 22 points, 6-foot-11 center Jahlil Okafor had 17 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, and Paul White contributed 17 points for Whitney Young.
The Dolphins overmatched the Cardinals, outscoring them 44-14 inside the paint. Whitney Young also forced 21 turnovers and outscored Scott County 30-15 in points off turnovers.
A technical foul was called on Whitney Young’s bench with 5:31 left in the first half, which gave Trent Gilbert two shots at the line and he sunk both to tie the game at 19. Then, Whitney Young turned the tide. The Dolphins went on a 9-0 run before Andrew Short converted a layup with four seconds left and Whitney Young entered halftime with a 28-21 advantage.
Scott County was 14-for-45 (31.1 percent) from the field as opposed to the Dolphins, who shot 64.1 percent in the contest.
The Cardinals played without senior Quin Richardson, who was injured in Friday’s 71-60 win over St. Rita of Cascia (Ill.). Richardson was averaging 22 points per game during the Beach Ball Classic. Gilbert had a game-high 15 points (5-for-16) and Seth Crank added 10 points off the bench for the Cardinals, who will play Hudson Catholic (N.J.) in the third-place game at 5:30 p.m. Monday.
Whitney Young will take on Bishop O’Connell (Va.) in the Beach Ball Classic Championship at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
• SCOTT COUNTY (43) – Jalen Haddix 4, Trent Gilbert 15, Matt Murray 2, Jordan Tribble 2, Tony Martini 4, Austin Kindred 1, Deonte Doss 3, Seth Crank 10, Andrew Short 2.
• WHITNEY YOUNG (67) – Miles Reynolds 9, L.J. Peak 22, Paul White 17, Jahlil Okafor 17, Erwin Henry 2.• Halftime: Whitney Young 28-21. 3-point goals: Scott County 6 (Gilbert 3, Crank 2, Doss); Whitney Young 1 (Reynolds). Team fouls: Scott County 18, Whitney Young 13. Fouled out: Peak. Technical fouls: Whitney Young team.
• Records: Scott County 10-3, Whitney Young 9-1.