Prince Ali’s return to New York City could have ended better, but a disappointing loss and early exit from one of the best postseason tournaments in the country didn’t completely ruin his return to the Big Apple.
No. 8 Sagemont lost big to No. 1 Montverde, 81-63, in the quarterfinals of the DICK’s Sporting Goods High School National Tournament on Thursday night at Christ the King High School in Middle Village, Queens.
Ali scored 25 points on 8-for-13 shooting, but his team was undersized and overmatched by Montverde, ranked No. 1 nationally on multiple lists. The Lions stayed with the Eagles in the first quarter, only trailing by five points going into the second. Then the Eagles went on a rampage, outscoring Sagemont 30-11. The Eagles lead 50-26 at half and cruised to the win that puts them one victory from a trip to Madison Square Garden, site of Saturday’s title game.
“This loss doesn’t take anything away from the trip,” Ali said. “We came here to play basketball, hoping to win a national championship, and this loss does not define what we have done this whole season; we were undefeated and we won our state championship, so it doesn’t take away what we’ve done this whole season.”
“We didn’t play the game that we wanted to play, but we have to give Monteverde a tremendous amount of credit,” Sagemont coach Adam Ross said.
Ali, who averaged 18.1 points during the regular season, grew up in the Bronx and moved to Florida as a freshman in 2011. He has verbally committed to the University of Connecticut.
“It’s a good feeling,” Ali said of his homecoming. “I saw a lot of people that I grew up with around here, and I saw a lot of my family. Even though we did not get the ‘W’ it was still a great feeling.”
Ali will have “plenty of time” to visit his friends and family in the Bronx because his team doesn’t leave New York City until Saturday. The thing that Ali said he missed most about New York is the transportation system.
Sagemont went 34-0 in the regular season, winning the FHSAA Class 3A state championship, beating Tampa 79-48. This is the first time that Sagemont was invited to the national tournament, and the 6-4 junior guard believes that it won’t be his last time playing in this tournament.
“We just have to come in, work harder than this year and, hopefully, we will see them again,” Ali said.
Ben Simmons showed Sagemont why ESPN ranks him third in the ESPN super 60. The 6-9 junior had a double-double with 25 points and 16 rebounds, and he shot a remarkable 11 for 14 from the field. Montverde won this tournament last year and will continue its quest for a repeat Friday afternoon against Huntington Prep.
TRACK AND FIELD
Javon Patterson is still working on that perfect 800-meter run. Until that time, the Boyd Anderson junior star continues to break meet records.
Patterson added the Florida Relays mark to his growing caché after his devastating kick with 200 meters brought him across the finish line in a personal-best 1:52.04 at the Percy Beard Track in Gainesville on Thursday. The previous meet record of 1:52.61 had stood since 2010.
“For the first lap I was at around 54 seconds, but I got boxed in, so I had to back off my pace and then regain my momentum,” Patterson said. “As I got to the 600-meter mark I started to take over the race. With 200 meters left, I was pretty much running by myself.”
St. Thomas Aquinas’ Matthew Butler clocked 1:53.12 to give Broward a 1-2 finish.
Patterson became the talk of the BCAA distance runners when he clocked a then-personal-best 1:52.53 (No. 1 time in the U.S.) two weeks ago at Dillard to set the new BCAA standard.
Since that time Patterson had fallen to No. 4 in the national rankings but jumped to No. 2 on Thursday at one of the most competitive meets in the nation.
Patterson’s hot streak makes him the prohibitive favorite to win the Class 3A state title and in position to challenge the 1:49.75 FHSAA state record Booker T. Washington’s Timothy Harris set in 2004. Patterson is now chasing Jeffrey Moore out of Smith, Texas, who took over the No. 1 spot in the U.S. when he went 1:51.97 on March 22.
BOYS’ VOLLEYBALLArchbishop McCarthy d. Cooper City 25-18, 25-9, 25-16: St. Thomas Aquinas d. Taravella 25-17, 25-19, 21-25, 25-18: South Broward d. Flanagan 25-18, 25-23, 25-22: American Heritage d. Pace 25-10, 25-23, 25-17:
BASEBALLPines Charter 4, Pine Crest 2:
GIRLS’ LACROSSEWest Broward 7, Flanagan 0: Western 18, University School 6: Vero Beach 14, St. Thomas Aquinas 4:
GIRLS’ WATER POLOWestminster Academy 12, Spanish River 6: Cypress Bay 13, Cooper City 3:
BOYS’ WATER POLOWestminster Academy 10, Spanish River 6: Cooper City 17, Cypress Bay 12: