The lobbying and the political wrangling is over and the 2014 DICK’S Sporting Goods High School Nationals tournament field is set with eight boys teams ranked in the Super 25, including six of the top 10 teams in the country. It will also have a four-team girls tournament, including three teams in the Super 25.
The event will be held April 2-4 in New York and will be televised live on various ESPN Networks.
Like last year, the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be at Christ the King High in Middle Village, N.Y., with the championship at Madison Square Garden.
Montverde (Fla.) Academy, the second-ranked team and the No. 2 seed in the tournament, is shooting for its third consecutive victory in the event, which before last year was known as the ESPN National High School Invitational. The Eagles open with No. 7 seed Greensboro (N.C.) Day. The last time the teams played was in the 2013-14 season, when Montverde took a 78-46 victory at home.
“It’s an unusual situation because we have been off five or six weeks,” Montverde coach Kevin Boyle said. “We gave the players 10 days of hitting the weights, then each week went from four, then five, then six practices. We won the last two events, so it has worked pretty good for us. We think there are a lot of good teams. Greensboro Day is a bit undersized and I think they will try to control the tempo. They have one of the premier coaches that nobody knows about.”
Greensboro Day coach Freddy Johnson said his team, ranked No. 17 in the Super 25, will do what it has been doing all season.
“We press full court most of the time,” Johnson said. “We don’t change.”
Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), the No. 1 team in the Super 25 rankings and the top seed in the tournament, will play Wings Academy (Bronx, N.Y.), which is ranked No. 19 and seeded eighth. Wings won the New York Public Schools League AA tournament.
“I don’t know much about them yet,” Oak Hill coach Steve Smith said. “I know they played Saturday and we have the availability to watch that game online. We’ll try to find another game or two of theirs to watch. We have been in this event every year with the exception of one. We try to get our guys not to look past the team we play in the first round. We are just going to talk about Wings Academy and nothing else.”
Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.), the No. 6 team in the Super 25 and the fourth seed, had to win an appeal to the Georgia High School Association to be allowed to compete. Callaway (Jackson, Miss.,) withdrew its appeal to the Mississippi High School Activities Association on Monday, the day before a scheduled hearing.
The girls event is led by Florida 5A champion Dillard (Fort Lauderdale), which is No. 3 in the Super 25 rankings. It also includes No. 7 Miami Country Day; No. 17 Gonzaga Prep (Spokane), the Washington 4A champion; and No. 45 South Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.), the PSAL champion.
Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.), the No. 4 team in the Super 25 and the North Carolina 4A champion, was denied a last-minute appeal Tuesday to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association to be allowed to play in the event.
Here’s what the bracket for the boys’ side looks like, with the teams’ seeds:
Thursday, April 2, Christ the King High, Middle Village, N.Y., ESPNU
Game 1, noon
No. 3 Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach) vs. No. 6 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
Game 2, 2 p.m.
No. 4 Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) vs. No. 5 Huntington (W.Va.) Prep
Game 3, 4 p.m.
No. 2 Montverde (Fla.) Academy vs. No. 7 Greensboro (N.C.) Day
Game 4, 6 p.m.
No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) vs. No. 8 Wings Academy (Bronx, N.Y.)
Friday April 3, Christ the King, ESPN2
Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 3 p.m.
Game 1 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 4, Madison Square Garden, ESPN
Boys championship, noon
Here’s the bracket for the girls:
Friday, April 3, Christ the King, ESPNU
No. 1 Dillard (Fort Lauderdale) vs. No. 4 South Shore (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 11 a.m.
No. 2 Miami Country Day (Miami) vs. No. 3 Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Wash.), 1 p.m.
Saturday, April 4, Madison Square Garden, ESPNU
Girls championship, 10 a.m.