COLUMBUS, Ohio — It may go down as the only time LeBron James roots against his beloved alma mater, but he had a good reason on this night.
St. Vincent-St. Mary, where James first made a name for himself as "just a kid from Akron," fought hard but lost to Sierra Canyon School out of Los Angeles 59-56 Saturday. The NBA legend was among 13,000 in attendance at Columbus' Nationwide Arena, as his 15-year-old son LeBron "Bronny" James Jr. was playing for the Trailblazers.
Ironically wearing No. 0, Bronny scored a career-high 15 points off the bench, including the eventual game-winning layup off a steal with less than a minute left and his team down one. Although he plays on a squad with multiple five-star recruits such as Kentucky commit BJ Boston (who had a game-high 16), the freshman was named MVP of the contest, and already sports an offer himself from John Calipari's Wildcats.
Although the Irish were considered underdogs against a team ranked seventh in the country by USA Today, they were in it the whole way as four players scored in double figures: Marcus Johnson (14), four-star recruit Malaki Branham (13), fellow four-star Sencire Harris (11), and Isaiah Ingol (11). The Northeast Ohio powerhouse actually appeared to have tied the game with 39.1 seconds left, but a free throw was taken off the board after a controversial lane violation call that even LeBron didn't like.
Sierra Canyon improved to 8-0, while St. V suffered its first loss in five games this season. The Irish are considered a top contender for their ninth Ohio state championship.
The game was broadcast across America on ESPN3. Besides LeBron, Ohio State men's basketball coach Chris Holtmann was also sitting court side.