Kevin Boyle, Montverde settle for fifth in City of Palms Classic

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City of Palms logo

Montverde Academy 81, Westerville (Ohio) South  52

Montverde Academy, which had played in three consecutive City of Palms Classic championship games, winning back-to-back titles in 2012-13, settled for fifth place in the final tournament held at Bishop Verot High School’s John J. Nevins Gymnasium.

Montverde, sure to lose its No. 1 ranking in USA Today’s next Super 25, defeated Westerville (Ohio) South 81-52 Wednesday night.

Montverde coach Kevin Boyle’s rise to prominence as a high school basketball coach has coincided with the tournament’s 22-year tenure at Bishop Verot. He has a 30-11 combined record at Bishop Verot, including three Classic championships, having coached in nine Classics while with Elizabeth (New Jersey) St. Patrick and five with Montverde Academy.

This tournament, Boyle said he has been battling constant headaches. They have been so severe, he said, that he soon will seek medical treatment to try and find their cause.

Other than feeling bad this year, Boyle said he would have fond memories of the Bishop Verot era.

“The intensity of the crowd and the emotions in the tournaments have always been good,” Boyle said. “I think we’ve always been consistent in the tournament.”

Silvio DeSousa led Montverde with 20 points and five rebounds, while Micah Potter had 18 points and four rebounds.

Montverde’s Rowan “R.J.” Barrett, a 15-year-old freshman, made the All-Tournament team and scored 12 points with five rebounds against Westerville.

“It means a lot,” said Barrett, whose team improved to 11-1.

Ohio State-bound Kaleb Wesson led Westerville with 15 points and five rebounds. His team fell to 7-2 but achieved one of its goals.

“Honestly, we came down here hoping to play them,” Westerville coach Ed Calo said. “They’re elite. They’re No. 1. We’re a lot better than what we showed. But they did a lot of things that took us out of our game.

“It’s a humbling experience. I don’t think we needed to be humbled, but it’s a learning experience. It’s a great opportunity to grow.”

West Linn (Oregon) 82, Brooklyn Thomas Jefferson (New York) 69

From its first game against Miami Norland until its last at the City of Palms Classic, West Linn looked like a totally different team. 

On Wednesday in the consolation final, the Lions pushed a lead as high as 18 in the fourth quarter against the Orange Wave before finishing strong in the final moments, winning their third game in four games. 

West Linn head coach Eric Viukola said the team’s opening loss ultimately served a greater purpose. 

“I felt like this is good for us,” said Viukola, whose team beat Lehigh, Wesleyan Christian (North Carolina) and Thomas Jefferson over the course of the seven-day tournament. “We’re the big dog back home, so we got challenged here, all four games. We knew that we were going to get challenged. We’re going to be humble.”

Point guard Payton Pritchard, an Oregon signee, had another highly effective game, scoring 19 points, handing out eight assists and grabbing eight rebounds. He was named to the City of Palms’ all-tournament team afterward. 

“I just look at it as another way to compete and go against the best,” Pritchard said. “I’ll do whatever it takes to win.” 

All five of West Linn’s starters scored in double-figures. Jaydon Grant added 18 points, Brooks DeBisschop had 14 and Will Mathiessen finished with 13 points. 

Thomas Jefferson was led by Shamorie Ponds, who finished with 33 points and four steals, becoming the 10th person in tournament history to average over 30 points per game over four games. He was also named to the all-tournament team. 

“I would say, we just finally got our feet under us the last two games,” viukola said. “We relaxed and played our game.”

After going into halftime leading 33-31, the Lions uncorked an 11-2 run with the game tied at 37 to go up nine from a Grant curl and score. 

They added another 8-3 run in the next two minutes before the third quarter ended, earning a 14-point lead. 

West Linn saw a lead grow as high as 18 in the fourth, but Thomas Jefferson cut the deficit to nine with less than a minute remaining. 

“We bounced back and won three games straight,” Pritchard said. “It’s big confidence going into our next big tournament.” 

Columbia (Mo.) Father Tolton 72, Bartow 54

The Father Tolton Catholic Trailblazers grabbed a victory over the Bartow Yellow Jackets in a challenge-round game.

“I think it was one of the best games we’ve played,” Trailblazers junior wing Michael Porter Jr. said. “I was happy that we finished strong.”

Porter, the 6-foot-8, five-star recruit being closely monitored by the likes of Duke, Kansas and Kentucky, went 10 for 19 and finished with 36 points and nine rebounds. Isaiah Wilson added 10 points and went 7 of 8 from the free-throw line.

Bartow’s Tony Bradley, a senior University of North Carolina signee, was held to 24 points and 12 rebounds, going 10 for 25 shooting. McKinley Harvin chipped in with 16 points and five rebounds.

Father Tolton held on to a first-half lead by limiting scoring from Bartow lead scorer Tony Bradley. Porter Jr. led the trailblazers with 20 first-half points despite going 7 for 13 shooting.

The Yellow Jackets struggled to thin the Trailblazers’ 13-point lead in the third quarter, but were able to keep it close in the fourth with a 17-16 quarter. Father Tolton shot 50-percent from the field throughout. 

Orlando First Academy 65, Lehigh Senior 52

Orlando First Academy defeated Lehigh in a challenge-round game.

“The boys fought hard,” Lehigh head coach Dawn McNew said. “Obviously, we were outsized throughout the entire tournament, but I don’t think that anyone worked more hard than we did.”

Chaundee Brown led the Royals offense with 18 points and 11 rebounds and made 10 of 13 from the free-throw line. Malik Williams followed with 16 points and 12 rebounds. 

The Lightning’s Stef’an Strawder and Jarvis Martin both earned 11 points. Strawder went 6 for 6 from the free-throw line and Martin grabbed nine rebounds and went 4 for 19 from the field. 

The Royals went into halftime ahead of the Lightning 27-20, although Lehigh outscored First Academy in the second quarter. 
Williams led the Royals’ first-half scoring with 10 points and five rebounds. Jarvis Martin went 2 for 11, grabbing six points in the first half. 

Lehigh came within six points in the fourth quarter despite shooting 24 percent, but their offensive efforts were not enough to rally against First Academy’s 38 second-half points.

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