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December 20, 2014

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Coach confident Findlay basketball program will continue past this year

Mike Peck

Mike Peck

The Findlay College Prep basketball team hasn’t played its last game. Not this year or in the future.

Henderson International School, the private school the Findlay program is affiliated with, will be closing at the end of the school year. An announcement was made on Friday to parents in an e-mail from Brian Siegel, head of schools for Henderson International.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the Findlay program will be folding, too.

“I’m very confident that Findlay will continue,” coach Mike Peck said. “There are several options for us. We have been approached with some ideas and are bouncing some things around.”

Other than saying the objective is to keep the program in Las Vegas, Peck couldn’t go into specifics about the team’s future. “We just found out yesterday, too,” he said.

The program was started four years ago with the financial backing of local auto dealer Cliff Findlay, the team’s namesake and a former UNLV basketball player. While not confirmed by Peck, one obvious possibility would be moving the team to another local private school.

“There are a ton of things we could do,” Peck said.

Findlay, which is ranked No. 3 by USA Today, has only lost three games in the last three years. And, judging by the way the Pilots played this weekend in winning a pair of games by a combined 71 points, they could be in position to win another national crown.

Cory Joseph, the Pilots’ star senior point guard, was one assist away from his second consecutive game with a triple-double on Saturday, finishing with 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a 120-65 victory against visiting Impact Academy of Nevada to close the regular season.

Now, Findlay will get a chance to defend its national title with an invitation to the eight-team ESPN National High School Invitational in Washington in early April. The team won the event last year to cap an undefeated season.

“I was telling the guys tonight after the game that one of the beauties of life is absolutely loving what you do,” Peck said. “I’m blessed and lucky to be at this program. It’s a great quality of life for my wife and kids.”

Senior forward Godwin Okonji had a team-high 26 points on Saturday to go along with 10 rebounds. Sophomore Winston Shepard had 11 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and junior Nick Johnson had 21 points and four assists.

Findlay will take next week off before beginning preparations for the national event. Peck compares the layoff to the break college football teams receive before playing in a Bowl Championship Series bowl game.

“We’ll treat (the practices) like our preseason and have a pretty aggressive approach,” Peck said.

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