The No. 1 team in the GEICO Nationals has been taken out by No. 8. Sunrise Christian pulled off a six-point comeback in the final minute of the game to upset Montverde, ranked in the Super 25 as the No. 2 team in the country, and advance to the second round.
Matas Buzelis, a five-star, 6-foot-9 small forward, led Sunrise Christian with 17 points in the 46-45 win. His biggest basket came when the team was about to see their chance slip away. With 53 seconds to play, Buzelis got a four-point play after being fouled on a 3-point show to close the gap from 45-39 to just a two-point game.
Four-star forward Scotty Middleton hit a 3-pointer with about 23 seconds remaining to give Sunrise Christian the lead.
Five-star Montverde center Derik Queen got a final attempt, driving the ball to the rim, but his tightly contested layup was off. Montverde missed the putback at the final second and Sunrise Christian escaped.
See the ending here:
Sunrise Christian had a solid but unspectacular regular season, with a 20-7 record entering the GEICO Nationals. The Buffaloes had lost to Montverde twice already during the season, and were at risk of losing all three when matched against the Eagles in the tournament.
But Buzelis, a five-star, 6-foot-9 small forward, led the way for the Buffaloes, helping them stay in the game long enough that they could clinch a spot in the semifinals.
The Buffaloes will take on Link Academy on Friday. Link Academy, ranked No. 4 in the tournament and No. 7 in the Super 25, beat Sunrise Christian in the regular season — but as was proven on Thursday, that doesn’t mean anything to the Buffaloes.