MIDDLE VILLAGE, N.Y. — Maybe a little Lone Peak rubbed off on Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) forward Filip Petrusev.
Duke signee R.J. Barrett, as usual, led the Eagles with 22 points and 10 rebounds but Petrusev, a Gonzaga signee, had 21 points and hit his first five three-point attempts as the No. 1-ranked Eagles defeated No. 3 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 71-53 Friday in a semifinal at the GEICO High School Nationals.
“I thought we got off to a good start and Filip was a lot of that,” Montverde coach Kevin Boyle said. “By nature, he’s such a good person that he defers when other guys step up, but you can see what Gonzaga sees in him.”
Montverde will face No. 2-ranked University (Fort Lauderdale) Saturday (noon, ESPN) in an all-Florida finale for the GEICO boys title.
Findlay Prep was led by Reggie Chaney with 15 points and Bol Bol with 12.
Barrett became the tournament’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing the old record set by then-Montverde player Ben Simmons. However, Barrett would rather have a GEICO championship, something that has eluded him in his three years at Montverde.
He came up big in the stretch, blocking Bol at one end, then nailing a trey to put the Eagles up 61-45.
“To be honest, that’s just (me) competing,” Barrett said. “I want to win this tournament more than anything. At the beginning, I wasn’t as aggressive. I wasn’t getting any calls. My teammates kept getting on me and told me to start going to the rim. Plus, they started hitting threes and that made it easier to get to the basket.”
On Friday, Montverde led 30-19 at the half as Petrusev had 12 points, all off three-pointers and Barrett had eight points off 3-for-12 shooting from the floor. At one point in the first quarter, the Eagles led 20-2 before the Pilots closed the quarter on a 8-2 run.
It was the second meeting between the teams this season. Montverde (33-0) took a 69-67 win over the Pilots (32-6) in the championship of the Montverde Invitational in January, winning on a last-moment three-pointer by Mike DeVoe.
Follow Jim Halley on Twitter at: @jimhalley