MIDDLE VILLAGE, N.Y. — Something about Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) gets Vernon Carey Jr. going.
Carey had 29 points to lead No. 2-ranked University (Fort Lauderdale) to a 80-65 defeat of the Warriors. Oak Hill was the one blemish on the 36-1 Sharks’ resume this season, but even in that game, an 83-69 Warriors win, Carey put up 29 points and 17 rebounds.
Asked what he had against the Warriors, Carey just smiled sheepishly.
“I just tried to focus inside and toward the end, I just focused on the paint,” Carey said.
Scottie Barnes added 22 points for University, but maybe the key was how the Sharks’ handled his absence.
Barnes picked up his fourth foul with 1:05 to go in the third quarter and he didn’t come back in until 3:35 remained in the game. When he went out, the Sharks’ lead was at 14 points. When he came back in with 3:35 to go, it was still 13.
In his stead, Trey Doomes stepped up, finishing with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
“When Scottie went out, we went to zone to make sure Vernon wasn’t picking up any fouls,” University coach Adrian Sosa said. “Trey had a double-double and Josh Sanguinetti gave good minutes. Offensively, we just kept trying to go to Vernon.”
Sosa said his team’s effort since it won the 5A state title earlier this month made a difference.
“Defensively, our effort and attention to detail for the last month has been on another level,” Sosa said. “Scottie was banged up in that earlier game (with Oak Hill). We focused on just winning every possession, winning every ball. Defensively, we out-rebounded them by 10. We knew we had to keep them out of the lane.”
Oak Hill (44-2) was led by Will Richardson with 23 points.
Keldon Johnson, one of two McDonald’s All-Americans for Oak Hill, didn’t play in the first half after turning his ankle in Wednesday’s quarterfinal. He came back for the second half and finished with six points.
“We didn’t feel good that Keldon wasn’t with us to start the game,” Oak Hill coach Steve Smith said. “We took him to the back and he couldn’t run backward at all. We did not play well. It didn’t help that he was injured. We had a lot of breakdowns defensively. Barnes and Carey dominated on the offensive end.”
University led 36-28 at the half, led by 14 points by Carey.
Follow Jim Halley on Twitter at: @jimhalley