Bronny James Scores 9 as Sierra Canyon Defeats St. Paul VI to Win 'Iolani Classic

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 23, 2021

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 11: Bronny James #0 of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers reacts during the Hoophall West tournament against the Perry Pumas at Footprint Center on December 11, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Ramel Lloyd Jr. scored 20 points and Bronny James added nine as No. 3 Sierra Canyon beat No. 20 St. Paul VI 52-49 in the 'Iolani Classic boys high school basketball finals from Honolulu on Wednesday.

James, a junior, had a good all-around game. He was active on the glass and played tough defense, which included drawing a key late charge in the nationally televised contest on NBCSN.

On the other end, James had four points in the first half and five in the final two quarters in a tight defensive contest.

He also did a good job facilitating the Blazers offense against a tight St. Paul zone that forced Sierra Canyon to hit its outside shots. James finished with four assists.

The first quarter was all St. Paul VI, which got 12 of its 13 points from point guard and Michigan commit Dug McDaniel. The future Wolverine finished the night with 17, and the Panthers led 13-8 after one.

The son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James hit a pair of free throws to give Sierra Canyon a 22-21 lead right before halftime, but St. Paul VI responded with a bucket before intermission to take a 23-22 advantage going into the third quarter.

The Blazers got hot against the St. Paul VI zone in the third, as the Nebraska-bound Lloyd and Mikey Price both made their buckets. Price hit a pair of threes to turn a 35-30 deficit into a 36-35 lead, with James assisting on one of those buckets.

This one was close down the stretch, with James coming through in the clutch.

He hit a layup to give Sierra Canyon a 46-43 lead. James later grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup attempt. The shot was no good, but he drew the foul and made 1-of-2 from the free-throw line.

St. Paul VI responded with two straight buckets and got the ball back with a chance to tie or take the lead, but James drew a big charge on the baseline to give the ball back to Sierra Canyon.

That proved to be a huge play, as Lloyd made a three on the other end to give the Blazers enough breathing room with a 52-47 lead.

However, St. Paul VI persevered and eventually found itself down 52-49 with the ball in the closing seconds.

McDaniel took a long three that was no good, but an offensive rebound plus a kick-out led to the St. Paul VI star getting another look from beyond the arc. The second attempt went around the rim, and that was the ballgame.

With that, the 7-1 Panthers dropped their first game of the year.

Lloyd won the honors at the end of the game as the tournament's top player.

Sierra Canyon is now 13-1 on the season. The Blazers will play Venice (California) High School next Wednesday.