Who: No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) vs. No. 5 La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.).
When: 3 p.m. ET, Friday
Where: Christ The King, Middle Village, N.Y.
About Montverde: The Eagles (26-1) are shooting for a record fourth consecutive DICK’S Nationals title. Unlike in past seasons, No. 2 Montverde is relatively inexperienced. The Eagles have enormous depth in the frontcourt with Simi Shittu, Micah Potter, Bruno Fernando, E.J. Montgomery and Silvio DeSousa all athletic, between 6-8 and 6-11 and with the exception of Fernando and Potter, all underclassmen. Montverde’s guard play is the team’s biggest question mark, if there is one. Freshman R.J. Barrett led the team in Thursday’s quarterfinal with 20 points and seven rebounds, but, as might be expected of a freshman, has been inconsistent. Senior guard Kevin Cham is solid and and Davonta Jordan is dangerous in transition.
About La Lumiere: The Lakers (26-3) advanced with a 60-59 defeat of No. 9 St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark), led by junior 6-7 wing Brian Bowen’s 23 points. La Lumiere has won 12 in a row since it lost 80-71 to Wasatch Academy (Mount Pleasant, Utah) on Jan. 8. The Lakers have played Montverde twice before, losing both times, the last time 57-38 in 2013. The Lakers have three players 6-9 or taller: 6-10 senior center James Banks, 6-11 center Jeremiah Tilmon and 6-9 sophomore forward Zevin Zhang. Point guard Tyger Campbell is one of the top freshmen guards in the country while senior Brandon Cyrus and Isaiah Coleman-Lands are consistent performers.
What to expect: Given past results, it’s hard to pick against Montverde. But guard play could be a major factor, especially if Barrett has an off game, and La Lumiere has shown the ability to defend and win tight games. Look no further than the Lakers’ victory Thursday over St. Benedict’s (N.J.) Prep. Still, expect Montverde to try and impose its will early, and if La Lumiere can weather the storm it could be another tight game.