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HomeSportPrep Hoops: MVP Tounde Yessoufou breaks all-time Alaska Airlines Classic tournament scoring...

Prep Hoops: MVP Tounde Yessoufou breaks all-time Alaska Airlines Classic tournament scoring record, leads St. Joseph (CA) to second title in three years

St. Joseph’s Tounde Yessoufou. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

St. Joseph’s Tounde Yessoufou of Santa Maria, Calif., is the first 100-point man in Alaska Airlines Classic history.

He might as well be the Six Million Dollar Man because he looked like an astronaut with another out-of-this-world performance in Saturday night’s title game against East Anchorage.

The 6-foot-5 sky-walker threw down five dunks on his way to scoring 42 points in the Knights’ 74-47 victory in front of a crowd of 2,300 at West High School.

His 42 points tied former MVP Isaiah Moses of Dimond for the second-highest scoring game and his 105 points set a Classic tournament scoring record, breaking the previous mark of 98 set in 1990 by Doug Annison of Bishop Sullivan (LA).

Yessoufou – a five-star recruit who is ranked top 10 nationally for the Class of 2025 and holds offers from Kansas, Arizona among others – became the tournament’s first two-time MVP since East’s Trajan Langdon in 1992 and 1993.

Classic All-Time Tournament Scoring
105 – Tounde Yessoufou St. Joseph (CA) 2024
98 – Doug Annison, Bishop Sullivan (LA) 1990
96 – Da’Zhon Wyche, West Anchorage 2016
92 – Trajan Langdon, East Anchorage 1992
91 – Chase Thomas, Planet Athlete (AZ) 2018
90 – Isaiah Moses, Dimond 2020

Yessoufou won his first Classic MVP award in 2022 when he scored 72 points in three games. He was good as a freshman, but he was gaga this time around.

He had 12 dunks and cut through defenses like a hot knife through butter. He was unstoppable and made it impossible to take your eyes off him. He’s quite possibly the greatest high school player we have seen in Alaska as he averaged 29.5 points in six career games at the Classic.

He’s without question the most entertaining.

Yessoufou didn’t just hurt Alaska teams, he also had 33 points against a defense-minded Nazareth team out of New York City in the semifinals.

Saturday night, he looked like a man among boys.

St. Joseph’s Tounde Yessoufou. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

His first dunk gave the Knights a 9-4 lead. He had back-to-back post buckets where he was either too strong or too quick as the lead swelled to 27-19. He had 19 points in the first half and outscored East by himself as St. Joseph led 37-17 at the break.

Yessoufou didn’t slow down or show mercy in the second half. His most memorable bucket came in the third quarter when he flicked in a circus-like scoop shot with his body under the hoop.

Whatever he threw up went in as he made 16-of-19 shots from inside the arc. His third dunk came late in the third quarter on a breakaway two-handed hammer job.

Yessoufou pumped in 14 points in the fourth quarter, with his fourth flush of the night serving as the official points that gave him the tournament scoring record. It came on a dunk, how fitting.

The next time down the court he drained a 3-pointer and then ended his night with a two-handed dunk.

This was the third tournament this season that Yessoufou won MVP honors after previously getting the honor at the King Cotton Classic in Arkansas and the Capitol City Classic in Oregon, where he set a single-game scoring record of 46 points.

Yessoufou finished seven points shy of the Alaska Airlines Classic single-game scoring record set in 2016 by West Anchorage’s Da’Zhon Wyche, who scored 49 points against Planet Athlete (AZ).

Yessoufou is an unforgettable player with a memorable name. He’s someone people in Alaska won’t soon forget.

The same goes for St. Joseph (19-2), which became the fourth team to twice win the Alaska Airlines Classic dating back to 1989.

Almost lost in Yessoufou’s shadow was the performance of St. Joseph sophomore guard Julius Price, who furnished 18 points and six dimes Saturday, and led the tournament with 17 assists.

The loss snapped East’s 12-game winning streak dating back to last season’s state title run. The T-birds showed life early when Jal Tharjiath canned a 3 to get them within 13-12 and later when Deng Deng hit a pretty turnaround jumper in the lane over 6-foot-9 sophomore Abdul Bare.

Bare and 6-foot-8 freshman Godson Eyita clogged the lane and combined for five blocked shots, shutting down East’s ability to attack the rim. The starters looked spooked against the twin towers and were largely ineffective against the Knights (welcome to the club), promoting T-birds’ coach Chuck Martin to go to his bench.

East’s Jamal Ozuna. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Underclassmen Jamal Ozuna and Melo Delaney combined for 14 points, showing no fear on the big stage. East also got a lift from Austin Johnson and Laron Roberts off the bench.

In the end, St. Joseph and Yessoufou were on a different level as the Knights and coach Tom Mott beat East in the Classic title game for the second time in three years.

St. Joseph 18 19 21 16 – 74
East 12 11 9 15 – 47

ST. JOSEPH – J.Price 18, M.Price 2, Morinini 4, Bare 4, Lowe 2, Cota 2, Rigali 0, Lovera 0, Sandoval 0, Yessoufou 42, Mosley 0, Eyita 2, Gogo 0.
EAST – Contreras 0, George 6, Johnson 2, Roberts 2, Delaney 7, Riek 0, Sulaiman 4, Ozuna 7, Sabally 6, Deng 2, Tharjiath 11.

The St. Joseph Knights. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Alaska Airlines Classic
Saturday’s Results
Title Game

St. Joseph (CA) 74, East Anchorage 47
Third Place Game
Nazareth (NY) 86, West Anchorage 39
Fourth Place Game
West Valley 71, Dimond 40
Seventh Place Game
East Hall (GA) 62, Bartlett 59
Tournament Leaders
Points

105 – Tounde Yessoufou SJ
57 – Julius Price SJ
56 – Sawyer Petersen WV
54 – Marek Hajdukovich DIM
54 – Leyton Nield WV
48 – Jamarcus Harrison EH
46 – Lok Kulang BAR
40 – Halon Rawlins NAZ
38 – Muhammed Sabally EAST
37 – Michael George EAST
Rebounds
23 – Tounde Yessoufou SJ
22 – Leyton Nield WV
19 – Javonte Walls DIM
19 – Abdul Bare SJ
18 – Lok Kulang BAR
17 – Jock Muon WEST
16 – Akeem Sulaiman EAST
16 – Justin Delgado NAZ
16 – Jamarcus Harrison EH
16 – Braydon Langston EH
16 – Sawyer Petersen WV
Assists
17 – Julius Price SJ
10 – Javonte Walls DIM
9 – Muhammed Sabally EAST
8 – Achilles Desmanagles NAZ
7 – Jamarcus Harrison EH
7 – Leyton Nield WV
7 – Sawyer Petersen WV

Nazareth’s Justin Delgado. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Nazareth (NY) 86, West Anchorage 39

This matchup was a mismatch from the jump as the Kingsmen of Brooklyn gave the Eagles a lesson in big-city hoops during an 86-39 blowout in the third-place game.

Nazareth used an unrelenting pressure defense to stifle West and trigger a running clock by the end of the third quarter.

Joseph Jennings and Kaiden Francis each scored 13 points for the Kingsmen, who made 10 3-pointers and shot 58% from the floor. At least five times they stole the ball off an inbounds play and turned it into quick points.

Jennings’ steal and layup right before the break pushed the lead to 43-20 at halftime.

Nazareth (10-5) didn’t let up in the third quarter, producing 29 points in eight minutes. All-tournament pick Halon Rawlins caught an alley-oop from Jennings for a devastating dunk.

Showtime carried over into the fourth quarter behind the 1-2 punch of Justin Delgado and Achilles Desmanagles, who each had two dunks.

Desmanagles threw an alley-oop to Delgado and then had back-to-back breakaway slams as the lead grew to 50.

West was led by freshman Duel Tharjiath’s 10 points.

Nazareth 19 24 29 14 – 86
West Anchorage 6 14 7 12 – 39

NAZARETH – Jennings 13, Rogers 8, Roman 9, Rawlins 4, Witter 4, Desmanagles 7, Prince 7, Moody 8, Robertson 0, Degado 13, Alexandre 0, K.Francis 13.
WEST ANCHORAGE – Mason 3, Alexander 0, Mikes 7, Cook 4, Tharjiath 10, Muehlenkamp 0, Hardman 2, Chuol 0, Shein 0, Atonio 2, Muon 7, Erickson 0.

West’s Des’Laone Cook. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

West Valley 71, Dimond 40

After suffering heartbreak on Day 1 of the Classic, the West Valley Wolfpack won their final two games to end the tournament on a high note.

West Valley ran over Dimond 71-40 in the third-place game behind Sawyer Petersen’s 26 points and Leyton Nield’s 16 points and 11 boards.

Petersen connected on 12-of-19 field goals, all of them coming right at the rim as the 6-foot-6 senior used his length and strength to produce easy points.

In addition to his double-double, Nield hounded Dimond guard Marek Hajdukovich, who finished with just 11 points.

The Wolfpack (10-1) also got seven points from freshman Jayden Miranda. His 3 in the second quarter pushed the lead to 21-9.

West Valley’s Sawyer Petersen. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Nield swished a 3-pointer on the final play of the second quarter as his team took a 29-18 advantage into halftime.

Hajdukovich and Amelio Ambrosio hit back-to-back 3s to get the Lynx as close as 37-24 in the third quarter, but West Valley countered with a 12-2 run with Peterson and Nield each netting a half dozen.

Halen Nield’s steal and layup extended West Valley’s lead to 53-29.

On Friday, West Valley coach Colten Crowden led his team to a 71-61 win over East Hall (GA) as the Wolfpack became the first Fairbanks team to beat a Lower 48 team in the Classic.

Dimond 5 13 13 9 – 40
West Valley 13 16 26 16 – 71

DIMOND – Ambrosio 3, Taveras 0, Walls 8, Castro 6, Hajdukovich 11, Wilson 0, Pederson 3, Sosa-Carpenter 0, Odia 1, Young 8, Perry 0, Walls 0.
WEST VALLEY – H.Nield 6, Miranda 7, Bell 0, Sims 7, Cromer 0, L.Nield 16, Geyer 2, Irish 0, Henderson 0, Petersen 26, Bostwick 0, Endicott 6.

Dimond’s Marek Hajdukovich. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

East Hall (GA) 62, Bartlett 59

In what must be the greatest seventh-place game in tournament history, the Vikings out of Gainesville, Ga., held off Bartlett 62-59 by the skin of their teeth.

The game featured 25 lead changes, including 10 in the second half, as neither team wanted to leave the Classic without a victory.

Jamarcus Harrison led East Hall with 18 points, including a pair of free throws with 7 seconds left that made it a three-point game. Khalil Goss added nine points and hit two free throws with 1:09 left to give the Vikings a 60-57 lead.

Freshman Braydon Langston blocked five shots, scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds in his best game of the tournament. The 6-foot-5 forward finished the tournament with 11 blocks, one shy of the Classic record held by St. Joseph’s Tounde Yessoufou set in 2022.

East Hall’s Braydon Langston. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

East Hall’s Devon Hughey scored seven of his team’s 19 points in the fourth quarter.

Bartlett’s Lok Kulang pumped in 26 points and drained a turnaround jumper to beat the second quarter buzzer and give the Golden Bears a 28-27 edge at halftime.

Kulang went bang from long range, drilling 4-of-5 3-pointers. He scored 10 of his team’s 17 points in the fourth quarter, tying the game at 51, 53 and giving Bartlett its final lead at 57-56.

This game featured the same schools that met in the 2012 Classic title game, won by East Hall.

Bartlett 10 18 14 17 – 59
East Hall 12 15 16 19

BARTLETT – S.Drussell 2, Nevitte 7, Phichantharath 4, Jordan 6, Alexander 7, A.Drussell 3, Bayath 2, Kulang 26, Press.
EAST HALL – Je.Harrison 0, Smith 4, Morrow 0, Buffington 0, Harrison 18, Hughey 7, Alford 10, Langston 14, Gross 9, Bryant 0.

All-Tournament Team

Akeem Sulaiman – East Anchorage
Marek Hajdukovich – Dimond
Leyton Nield – West Valley
Jamarcus Harrison – East Hall
Buob Marial – West Anchorage
Halon Rawlins – Nazareth
Sawyer Petersen – West Valley
Julius Price – St. Joseph
Muhammed Sabally – East Anchorage
MVP Tounde Yessoufou – St. Joseph

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