NSU University School won its first basketball state champion in March and might end the month with a national title.
University — ranked third in the nation by USA Today Expert rankings and second by Max Preps — will face No.1-ranked Montverde Academy in the championship game of the GEICO High School Nationals in Middle Village, N.Y.
The title game — now an all-Florida final — will be aired at noon on ESPN Saturday from Christ the King High School.
University School advanced into the championship Friday after handling Oak Hill Academy, from Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, 80-65, in the first semifinal of the national tournament that was televised on ESPN2. Montverde advanced after downing Findlay Prep, from Henderson, Nevada, 71-53.
“Our effort and attention to detail, especially defensively, over the past month has really been on another level,” University coach Adrian Sosa said. “They always say Florida is a football state, but we have some good basketball players, too.”
University junior Vernon Carey Jr. led all scorers with 29 points — including five dunks — while hauling down six rebounds. Sophomore guard Scottie Barnes added 22 points — with two dunks — and Trey Doomes had 17.
University also flew to the boards, outrebounding Oak Hill 32-22.
“More than anything, it allowed us to start our fastbreak and get up and down,” Sosa said.
The only tense moment was when Barnes picked up his fourth foul – a charge -- trying a spin move through the paint with a minute to go in the third quarter. Barnes went to the bench but Oak Hill couldn’t take advantage and the quarter ended with University leading 53-44.
Carey Jr. drilled a left-handed power jam with 4:10 left in the third, forcing Oak Hill to use a timeout trailing 45-32. It was University’s largest lead of the game at that point.
After a tight, high-energy first quarter, where both Carey Jr. and Barnes planted powerful slam dunks, University created a little breathing room with a 36-28 halftime lead. Carey Jr. finished the first half with 14 points and Barnes had 10.
University held a slim 15-14 lead at the end of the first quarter but was easily winning the rebounding advantage, snatching nine – seven on the defensive glass – to Oak Hill’s four.
Oak Hill was led by Will Richardson with 23 points, and David McCormack added 16.
University reached the semifinal after topping Shadow Mountain 75-63 in a Thursday quarterfinal. Carey Jr. led the way with 20 points.
Traveling to Orlando to compete in the Florida Disney Volleyball Showcase proved to be well worth the trip for the Miami Hype U-16s girls volleyball team last weekend.
The team, consisting of some of Miami-Dade County’s top high school girls volleyball players and headed by former Riviera Prep coach Emilio Rodriguez and current Southwest coach Alex Rivero, tore its way through the Gold Division before defeating ASICS Willowbrook from Lone Star, Texas, in straight sets 25-13, 25-20 in the championship game.
Leading the way were a pair of Riviera Prep players, Adriana Diaz (13 kills, five aces) and Sophia Meagher (seven blocks, eight kills) while Coral Reef’s Brianna Leon (12 digs) and Melanie Simon of Doral Academy (29 assists, four blocks) also contributed.
With the win, the team is now eligible to travel to Detroit this summer to compete in the 2018 USAV Nationals Championship.
▪ Miami Springs 6, Gulliver Prep 3: WP: Joel Gonzalez CG, 3 Ks; Anthony Nunez 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Steven Torres 2-2, 2B, 2R; Carlos Rey 1-3, RBI. MS: 13-1
▪ Hall of Fame Classic — Pompano Beach — South Dade 10, Grace Christian 5: WP: Anthony Artola (1-0); Kevin Cardentey 3-4, 2B, RBI; Henry Wallen HR, 3 RBI; Ulises Trujillo 2-3, 2 2B, 3 RBI; Nick Sosa 4 IP, 0R, 4 Ks. SD: 8-6
▪ Florida League Invitational – Sanford — Palmetto 7, Lake Braddock 6: Marc DeCarlo 1-2; Alex Castaneda 2R; Dickson Aburto 1-3, RBI; Patrick Mormile 3-4, 3 2Bs, 3 RBI. PAL: 12-1
▪ Dunedin 6, Southwest 3 (9 inn.): Angel Ponce de Leon 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Eddie Sierra 2-4, 2B, 2R; Danny Cruz 2-5, 2B; Jordan Worley 3 hitless innings of relief.
▪ University School 8, Western 7: Jeremy Lapayowker 15 saves; Brandon Weinstein 3 goals; Jordan Weinstein 1 goal; Joseph Kosar key stop in final seconds to preserve the win. US: 9-3
▪ Cardinal Gibbons 21, North Broward Prep 7: Payton Goodrich 9 goals (tied single game school record); James Foster 3 goals, 2 assists; Michael Shawver 4 goals; Charlie Diamond 2 goals, assist; Connor Moody, Jake Harrington and Chris Benestad 1 goal each; Hart Arnold 4 assists; Sunnan Cuffy 1 assist.