A Florida team won and it was familiar face.
No. 1-ranked Montverde Academy won its fourth GEICO High School Nationals championship in six years, besting third-ranked NSU University School in every quarter on its way to a 76-58 win on Saturday at Christ the King High School in Middle Village, Queens.
With its fourth win, Montverde surpassed Findlay Prep (Nev.) for the most championships in the tournament’s 10-year history — appearing in seven of the past nine tournaments — and finished the season 35-0.
Both teams featured three players scoring in double figures in the final, which was televised on ESPN, and both teams hauled down 37 rebounds.
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“We really emphasized that this would be our last game for our seniors so we really wanted to leave it all on the floor. We kept riding that message every single game: one more game, one more game,” University head coach Adrian Sosa said. “It will definitely be a goal of ours to get back here next year.”
University (36-2), which won its first FHSAA state championship in school history earlier in the month in Class 5A, was led by sophomore guard Scottie Barnes with 24 points and 10 rebounds — six on the defensive glass. Junior forward Vernon Carey Jr. added 12 points and 10 rebounds while senior guard Drue Drinnon scored six.
Montverde was led by senior guard R.J. Barrett — the tournament MVP — with 25 points and 15 rebounds. Michael Devoe added 21 points and Filip Petrusev scored 15.
“We have a lot of maturity, the school is very structured and disciplined, with high standards outside of basketball, and I think it leads to structure and discipline on the court,” said Montverde head coach Kevin Boyle, who had high praise for Carey Jr., though he was held to 12 points. “Vernon is going to play in the NBA.”
Carey Jr. and Barnes joined Barrett on the all-tournament team along with Montverde senior guard Andrew Nembhard and Long Peak (Utah) senior guard Steven Ashworth.
Sosa, now in his sixth year at University, said he has been in talks with Montverde and a two-game, home-and-home series may be put on the schedule for next season.