By Mike White | Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009, 10:45 a.m.
The Mt. Lebanon girls had some impressive performances the past two weeks against some top national competition. But the Mt. Lebanon boys weren't far behind in the impressive department.
The Mt. Lebanon boys won the Junior Orange Bowl Classic in Miami. That's an impressive feat, considering the tournament had some of the best teams in Florida. In the title game Wednesday night, Mt. Lebanon defeated Hialeah American (Fla.), 59-50, as Evan Pierce scored 27 points. American was the No. 8-ranked 6A team in Florida.
In the semifinals, Mt. Lebanon knocked off Montverde Academy, a team that was ranked among the top 25 in the country in some polls. In the first round, Mt. Lebanon defeated Coral Reef, which was a defending Florida state champion.
Pierce, a senior guard and Wagner recruit who is pictured to the left, was selected the tournament MVP while junior forward Paul Lang was named to the all-tournament team. While Pierce is a talented player, I really like Lang's game. He's about 6 feet 5, has a good body build and is very athletic. I know he is a good football player. With the athletic ability and instincts he shows on the basketball court, it's hard to believe he won't get some Division I scholarship offers for football.
Mt. Lebanon's performance in Miami might be a little surprising. Everyone had the Blue Devils as the team to beat in WPIAL Class AAAA, but could they win games against top teams outside the state? Maybe this team is good enough to "seriously"challenge for a state championship. Mt. Lebanon made it to the state semifinals last year, but was crushed by Penn Wood (near Philadelphia). If Mt. Lebanon gets that far this season, the Blue Devils look to be good enough to play with those top teams from the eastern part of the state.
But first things first. Mt. Lebanon's game in Saturday's Pittsburgh Basketball Club Holiday Classic is very interesting. Mt. Lebanon will play Hampton, the No. 1-ranked WPIAL Class AAA team that has a front line of 6-8, 6-7 and 6-6.