Montverde overcomes poor shooting, Findlay to advance to DICK'S Nationals final

Montverde overcomes poor shooting, Findlay to advance to DICK'S Nationals final

Geico High School Nationals

Montverde overcomes poor shooting, Findlay to advance to DICK'S Nationals final


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MIDDLE VILLAGE, N.Y. — How do you shoot 25.8% from the floor and defeat one of the best high school teams in the nation? Somehow, Montverde (Fla.) Academy found a way Friday, beating Findlay Prep 57-53 in overtime in the first boys semifinal at the DICK’S Sporting Goods High School Nationals.

“Obviously, you don’t win many of those games,” Montverde coach Kevin Boyle said. “Our defense kept us around. I thought it reminded me of our Huntington Prep game (in last year’s DICK’S semifinals) where both teams struggled shooting the ball. I don’t know if any team has shot 42% here in the past two years. I don’t know if it’s the pressure. Somehow, we just found a way to win.”

Montverde’s shooting woes, including going 2-for-22 from beyond the arc (9.1 percent).

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With the win, the Eagles play Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) on Saturday in Madison Square Garden, where Montverde will seek a record third consecutive DICK’S Nationals title. Despite the offensive woes of both teams, it was a game to remember, with 10 lead changes.

LSU-bound forward Ben Simmons had 24 points, 13 rebounds and six assists for Montverde. Future Arizona guard Allonzo Trier had 27 points and eight rebounds for Findlay Prep. Eagles guard Martez Cameron only had two points, but his layup, following a miss by teammate Noah Dickerson, sent the game into overtime.

“I was at the high point and when I saw the shot go up, I scrambled around the defender,” Cameron said. “I just went and got it.I didn’t think about how much time was left.”

For Boyle, Cameron’s shot was the least of his contributions.

“I thought the key to the game was Martez,” Boyle said. “(Findlay Prep guard Derryck) Thornton is a terrific player and (Cameron) did an incredible job handling him all day.He should have 15 Division I scholarship offers and he may get some now. He’s probably the best on-ball guard we have.”

While the Eagles’ shooting, hampered by a tight 2-3 zone by Findlay Prep, was off, the Pilots were equally throttled by Montverde’s defense, which forced Findlay into 27 turnovers and 32.7% shooting.

“Montverde is a great defensive team,” Findlay Prep coach Andy Johnson said. “They trapped a lot of ball screens and we coughed it up too much. Hats off to Montverde. At the end, I’m so proud of the guys. I can’t say enough about how hard they worked. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way.”

Montverde (30-1) had a significant advantage at the foul line, shooting 42 free throws to 25 for Findlay Prep (29-3), but Johnson held his tongue afterward, even though he only had five players who didn’t foul out.

“We were going to go with one of our assistant coaches next,” Johnson said. “Some of those guys are pretty good players.”


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