Sierra Canyon, Bronny James can’t overcome shooting woes in loss to St. Vincent-St. Mary


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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Four years ago, when Bronny James’ name was thundered through the speakers inside Nationwide Arena he was checking into the game as a freshman off the bench. He didn’t just meet expectation that night, he exceeded it by scoring 15 points, including the go-ahead basket in a three-point win.

A lot is different now, and so was his final game as a high schooler in Ohio Saturday night.

James was held to just seven points in Sierra Canyon’s 67-61 loss to his father’s alma mater in front of a crowd of 7,600 on ESPN+, which seemed underwhelming compared to the 14,000 that showed up, including LeBron James, for the showdown in 2019.

Isaiah Elohim led Sierra Canyon with a game-high 24 points. Kevin Hamilton led SV-SM with 20 and Lance Hayes added 15 points in The Fighting Irish first win over the Trailblazers in three tries.

.@ElohimIsaiah can do it all @PaulBiancardi

— SportsCenter NEXT (@SCNext) December 17, 2022

“It felt great to finally get one,” said St. Vincent-St. Mary coach Dru Joyce, who coached LeBron James in high school. “I told Bronny it’s been a pleasure to coach against him.”

Saturday night, James’ name was announced with a grandiose entrance in Sierra Canyon’s starting lineup to claps and cheers from a crowd mostly draped in scarlet red for their beloved Ohio State Buckeyes as they were prepared to watch the now 4-star recruit, senior captain lead his team to victory.

It wasn’t Bronny’s best game.

He tallied six rebounds and four assists to his stat line, but fouled out with more than two minutes to play. Everything Bronny does — good, bad or uneventful — draws reaction from the crowd playing under the proverbial microscope he does. Joyce believes the pressure Bronny faces is much stronger than what LeBron faced at his age.

“For the first two or three years (of high school) LeBron was really good, but he didn’t have to deal with what Bronny’s going through,” Joyce said. “With Bronny, as soon as he walked onto the court as a 10-year old, the pressure was there. Bronny’s pressure is tougher.”

The thousands on hand began to chant ‘We Want Bryce James, We Want Bryce James’ in the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-6 sophomore, LeBron James’ youngest son, did not play.

“The way they handle (the fandom) is inspiring. They’re so mature,” Sierra Canyon senior Jimmy Oladokun said. “It makes me wonder how I would handle random people coming up to me everyday and asking for a picture. I see it every time we play. It’s amazing how they handle it.”

.@usdmbb commit Jimmy Oladokun gets this game started with a TOUGH finish in transition @SCanyonSports | @PaulBiancardi

— SportsCenter NEXT (@SCNext) December 17, 2022

Sierra Canyon made just one 3-pointer Saturday night to St. Vincent-St. Mary’s six. Almost half of the Trailblazers’ points came at the free throw line, making 26 of 36 attempts. SV-SM was 23 of 29 from the charity stripe.

Sierra Canyon trailed by 10 points in the third quarter before Bronny sparked a 10-0 run to take a 40-39 lead. He scored six straight points and assisted on another basket during the run. But St. Vincent-St. Mary used timely shooting to balloon its lead to 52-45 in the fourth quarter.

Ashton Hardaway showed frustration in the final frame when he fouled a St. Vincent-St. Mary player before throwing the ball at the player’s back, which garnered a technical foul. SV-SM made four straight free throws (1-and-1 situation plus technical free throws) and scored on the possession to create a 58-47 lead with 3:29 left in the game.

Less than a minute later, Bronny fouled out.


Sierra Canyon (7-2) will head home and host Venice and Saugus on Dec. 21 and 23 before heading out for the Les Schwab Invitational in Portland, Ore. which runs from Dec. 27-30. The Trailblazers will start Mission League competition on January 6 against Chaminade.

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