Don’t be surprised if Kevin Dorsey never leaves Springfield.
The sophomore guard from Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI made his second game-winner in as many nights as his Panthers pulled an overtime upset, knocking off one of the nation’s top teams in the finals of the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions on Saturday, 69-67.
“Anything could’ve happened,” Dorsey said. “But I drove the ball, was looking for my teammates to see if anyone was open, then I spun around and saw that nobody was open. He gave me a little bit of room, so I faded away and knocked it down.”
Dorsey’s 17-foot, turn-around shot banked off the glass and scored with 2 seconds left.
Going into the final, the narrative suggested Montverde (Fla.) would go through Springfield with a tournament title this weekend and head to the birthplace of basketball Monday to claim the title of nation’s top team.
Dorsey and Paul VI (13-4) had other plans.
After Montverde’s Kasey Hill nailed a 3-pointer with 1:25 to play in overtime, Paul VI worked the clock for the final shot.
Coach Glenn Farello coaxed Dorsey to take the ball toward the basket with about 10 seconds left, and did not call timeout.
“He was saying get away from the defender because I was going to get a five-second count,” Dorsey said. “So I back dribbled on him and I made that move and spun off of him. Then, I made my shot.”
Paul VI can thank Tournament MVP Marcus Derrickson and Franklin Howard for putting it in position to pull the upset.
Howard, who had a game-high 24 points, made play after play down the stretch for Farello’s team. Derrickson, a 6-foot-7 forward rated as one of the top sophomores in the country, scored 23 and handled Montverde’s imposing frontcourt.
“All we knew is that if we got stops and rebounded, that we would be straight. And then, the offense would come to us,” Derrickson said. “Everybody stepped up today.”
Derrickson was playing without frontcourt mate Quadree Smith, who separated a shoulder in the semifinal. He credited the play of freshman Tyler Scanlon as being a key toward the Panthers hanging around.
Montverde coach Kevin Boyle said the matchup change may have played into the hands of Paul VI.
“We got up 10 and didn’t put the game away,” Boyle said. “They hung around, they were smaller which was almost to their advantage. It made our two big guys (Dakari Johnson and Devin Williams) get out and guard, then they got hot on 3s, so it was frustrating.
“We got up 10, but didn’t finish the job.”
Montverde was up 53-43 with 5:40 to play, but a 15-5 run to close regulation with two Derrickson free throws sent the game to overtime.
Two Howard buckets put Paul VI up 67-64 with 1:37 left in overtime, setting up Hill’s 3-pointer and then Dorsey’s dramatics.
The finals drew 8,744 fans to JQH Arena, totaling about 22,500 for the three-day event.
“These are great basketball fans here, and they wanted a good show,” Farello said. “Fortunately, we put on a good one these last couple days.”
Paul VI’s triumph was a heartbreaker for Montverde, which was on a mission to become the undisputed top team in the country.
The Eagles (18-1), ranked No. 1 by ESPN and No. 2 by USA TODAY, will now travel to Springfield, Mass., for the Spalding Hoophall Classic. There, the Eagles will meet Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, the nation’s top team according to USA TODAY.
Boyle said the Eagles could return to the T of C but will re-evaluate the schedule in a couple weeks.
“We’ll see as time goes on, we’ll evaluate that,” Boyle said. “In about a month, we’ll take a look at next year.”
Farello has no doubts they’d return, if invited.
“We’d love to, are you kidding me?” Farello said. “It’s a first-class operation, and one of the best tournaments. I’ve been coaching now for 20 years. This is as good as it gets.”