A 33-game winning streak that began after an out-of-state loss to a national power ended Thursday to another national power outside the state.
Despite a brilliant second quarter, erasing a 20-6 deficit and taking a one-point halftime lead, Phoenix Shadow Mountain lost to Montverde Academy (Fla.) 74-61 at New York’s Christ the King High School in the opening round of the Dick’s Nationals boys basketball tournament.
Montverde (25-4) has won two Dick’s national championships in the history of the prestigious tournament that is televised by ESPNU.
Shadow Mountain’s last loss before Thursday was at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, before it closed the 2015-16 season on a six-game winning streak to capture the Arizona state championship.
Shadow Mountain (27-1), the only public school in the eight-team field, looked tight to begin the game, missing open short shots and free throws, and getting beat on transition by a huge Montverde team (25-4) that featured several future Division I college players, including sophomore wing R.J. Barrett, who had 24 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
Guards Marcus Shaver and Jovan Blacksher started slowly for Shadow Mountain, but they picked it up during the second quarter, helping Shadow Mountain surge ahead 37-36 at the half.
Shaver had 14 points and Blacksher 12 in the first half.
Shadow Mountain was without sophomore guard Jaelen House, who was serving a one-game suspension for being ejected in last month’s 4A Conference state championship game.
“They were a little bit nervous in the beginning,” coach Mike Bibby said. “But they played good. They played on a national level. They’re just as good as those guys.”
Montverde’s size took over in the second half with too many second-chance points.
“There were too many offensive rebounds,” Bibby said. “Even if we did get a stop, they had a put-back every time.”
Bibby felt that not only Shaver, but Blacksher, swingman Darion Spottsville and senior guard Nate Hollins should be recruited by colleges.
Shadow Mountain starts all guards.
This could be Bibby’s last game leading his alma mater. The 14-year NBA guard is set to get his college degree in May and has said he is looking to move into the college or NBA ranks.
Bibby led Shadow Mountain to the past two state championships and three of the last four. He was the point guard on Shadow Mountain’s first state championship team in 1996, before helping Arizona win the NCAA championship his freshman year in 1997.
He said Thursday he will see what happens going forward.
Suggest human interest stories to Richard Obert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-316-8827. Follow him at azc_obert