MIDDLE VILLAGE, N.Y. — Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.) seniors J.P. Moorman and Jordan Perkins have been looking forward to playing in the DICK’s High School Nationals since the Bengals lost in the state independent schools semifinals two seasons ago.
- (3) Montverde Academy (Fla.) 74, (6) Shadow Mountain (Ariz.) 61
- (4) Findlay Prep (Nev.) 77 vs. (5) Oak Hill (Va.) 65
“Bam Adebayo (now at Kentucky) hit a last-second tip-in to beat us and before I could get to the locker room, J.P. had huddled the team together and said we would come back and win state and go to DICK’S Nationals,” Bengals coach Freddy Johnson said. “That’s been our goal since last February.”
The Bengals, in their second trip to the DICK’S Nationals, didn’t come this time as tourists. Greensboro Day, the No. 19 team in the Super 25 boys basketball rankings, defeated No. 4 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) 59-40.
It was the first time that a team from North Carolina won a game at DICK’S Nationals and it may have been the biggest upset ever in the tournament, eclipsing Findlay Prep’s quarterfinal defeat in 2011 to Dwyer (Fort Lauderdale).
IMG, whose basketball program is only a few years old, was playing in its first DICK’S Nationals. The Ascenders’ only other loss was to Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.).
Moorman and Perkins each did their share of heavy lifting in the win. Moorman, a 6-7 forward, led the Bengals (34-3) with 15 points, including 11 in the first half. Perkins had 14 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, including two key back-to-back treys to douse the Ascenders’ hope of a comeback.
“I knew I was capable of making shots,” said Perkins, a 6-1 guard who is a North Carolina Central commit. “I told my team I was going to make three threes (he made three of five in the game). My teammates know what I’m capable of.”
IMG coach Vince Walden said a few key stops could have made a difference down the stretch. The Ascenders (26-2) were led by Trevon Duval with 14 points, but a day after playing in the McDonald’s All American Game in Chicago, Duval had an uncharacteristic eight turnovers and was scoreless in the second half.
“Hats off to them,” Walden said. “They played a really good game. We watched film on them. We thought we had a good idea of what they do well and they did well what they do well. They shot the ball well and they got us.”
Greensboro Day led 44-36 when Perkins stuck the knife in IMG’s hopes. He hit a three-pointer, grabbed the rebound down the other end and followed up with another three-pointer. A moment later, Duval fouled out and it went downhill from there for the Ascenders.
“That one possession, they get a couple of offensive rebounds and then No. 12, Perkins, makes the three and that hurts,” Walden said. “They out-rebounded us and that is an area we have dominated 85% of the time this season.”
Johnson, like Walden, did a lot of scouting of his opponent on video.
“We watched them six games on tape and we knew a lot about them,” Johnson said. “They are very well coached. Our key was not to allow them to get going in transition.”
Moorman said having several players return from having played in the 2015 DICK’S made a difference.
“Having those guys with some experience, it was definitely a different energy and vibe,” Moorman said. “The last time, we were happy to be here. This time, we were preparing hard for two weeks.”
Greensboro Day swarmed IMG on defense in the first half and it paid off. The Bengals led 17-10 after one quarter and grew the lead to 33-18 by the half, holding the Ascenders to 40% shooting and out-rebounding IMG 16-14.
IMG had a big third-quarter, though, going on a 13-0 run to tie the score at 31, punctuated by a dunk by Keyontae Johnson.
Moorman, a Temple signee, was a big factor for Greensboro Day with 11 first-half points. IMG was paced by Duval with 14 points in the first half, but none of his teammates had more than three points.