La PORTE — Don't get La Lumiere wrong, coach Pat Holmes and the Lakers love traveling the country and playing elite high school basketball teams from all over the country.
At the same time, the kids enjoy staying on campus and playing games in the intimate setting of the historic Marsch Gymnasium, where No. 10 nationally-ranked LaLu (per MaxPreps) hosted Michigan City on Tuesday.
"They all just enjoy playing basketball, whether it's a pick-up 3-on-3 after practice or Montverde in New York City," coach Pat Holmes said prior to the 89-54 romp over the Wolves. "Granted, that's a little different, but they're still 15- to 18-year-old boys who are excited to play Michigan City in a small, crowded gym."
Lightning-quick guard Wendell Green, Jr. carried LaLu (12-2) to a 40-23 halftime lead with 21 points and five rebounds. Green, an Eastern Kentucky commit, finished with 39, banging five treys to pace the Lakers. The Purdue-bound Jaden Ivy added a dozen, warming up after a three-foul first half. Six-foot-11 Treyton Thompson (Minnesota), also scored 12, and Jeremy Sochan pitched in 11 with nine boards and three blocks.
"We knew it wasn't going to be a season like last year," said Holmes, whose squad with Isaiah Stewart (Washington) and Keion Brooks (Kentucky) made it to the national championship game undefeated in 2019 before falling. "We've got a bunch of good juniors and sophomores, we're just not as old, so we were a little more physically and mentally mature last year. We're going through some growing pains, but I'm happy where we're at. Our goal is still to get to New York City. We'll see if we can give ourselves a chance."
Freshman Jamie Hodges, Jr. led Michigan City (7-3) with 19 points and Dez'Mand Hawkins notched 15.
"These kids love playing games, whether it’s La Lumiere or a Saturday morning intrasquad scrimmage," City coach Tom Wells said before the game. "Playing the game is fun for this group. I respect the talent that La Lumiere has collected at their school and all their accomplishments. Obviously, they are incredibly talented and have proven that on a national stage. I know a lot of area basketball fans that enjoy watching them."
That said, Wells has long been an outspoken advocate of public school hoops.
"Personally, I am more of a traditional “community school” guy where the pride and the school spirit is generated through all your kids playing together from their younger years on up to high school and the local community buying in and supporting them," he said. "I have been fortunate enough to both play and coach on sectional championship teams where the kids have played together forever and have shared a common goal of winning a sectional or a state title since elementary school. Quite honestly, those are memories of a lifetime that have no replacement or comparison."
La Lumiere 89, Michigan City 54
Jamie Hodges, Jr., scored 19 points for the Wolves.