[Queens, NY] Opening Day of the DICK′s High National did not disappoint. The biggest story of the day was Greensboro Day (NC) upset over IMG Academy (FL).
The Bengals outscored IMG 21-9 in the fourth quarter to walk away with a 59-40 victory. IMG couldn′t find any offensive rhythm early on, while the Bengals were clicking on all cylinders. J.P Morgan led all scorers with 15 points and 7 boards. Three players in the Bengals starting five finished with double figures, compared to IMG′s one.
Trevon Duval was the only player for IMG to score in double figures convert more than two field goals, leading the team with 14 points. Duval tried to press the issue for his team but ended up having 8 turnovers and five personal fouls, not the way he wanted to end his high school career.
IMG went on an 11-0 run to start the third quarter, tying the game at 31. It seemed like the Ascenders had found their groove, especially after Silvio De Sousa's big highlight. The Bengals continued to play tough and knocked a few shots to extend their back to four to end the quarter. In the fourth quarter, Jordan Perkins knocked down back-to-back threes, scoring 9 of his 14 points in the quarter.
Greensboro will take on Montverde Academy (FL) in the semifinals, who defeated Shadow Mountain (AZ) 74-61 in the opening game. RJ Barrett led all scorers with 24 points 13 rebounds and 5 dimes. Barrett scored 18 points in the second half, helping the Eagles overcome a 29-point second quarter by the Matadors. Marcus Shaver and Jovan Blacksher combined for 24 of the 29 points Shadow Mountain scored in the second half, both knocking two treys a piece.
Size and experience were the x-factors for Montverde. Head Coach of Shadow Mountain, Mike Bibby, recognized that his guys were undersized but they still played hard. The tallest player on Shadow Mountain roster is 6′7; Montverde has seven players 6′7 or taller on their roster, including RJ Barrett.
Findlay Prep (NV) defeated Oak Hill Academy (VA), 77-65, in a rematch from earlier this season. Three players scored 20+ for the Pilots, PJ Washington (22), Lamine Diane (21), and Reggie Chaney (21). Washington had a dominant performance just hours after participating in the McDonald′s All-American game, finishing with five monster blocks. Findlay Prep is looking to secure their first National title since 2012. Washington has been in this tournament three years in a row and is looking to end his career with a title.
Oak Hill could not stop the Pilots from scoring in the paint, which coach Steve Smith mentioned in the press conference. Findlay prep scored 46 points in the paint, Oak Hill only scoring 22. Oak Hill didn′t shoot well from the field, shooting 35 percent and 26 percent from the three point line. Billy Preston led the team in scoring with 21 points, pretty much the only consistent scorer they had. Matt Coleman was slowed down after he took a knee to the thigh, he still managed to finish with 7 points, 5 rebounds, 5 dimes, and 2 steals.
La Lumiere (IN) and Wasatch Academy (UT) capped the night off. LaLu comes in as the #1 seeded team and a heart full of redemption. They cruised past Wasatch 64-52 in sloppy game from the field. Both teams shot under 35 percent, but LaLu went 22-24 from the free throw line. Jaren Jackson Jr. played big in the paint, finishing with a 19 point and 12 rebound double-double, along with four blocks. Brian Bowen led all scorers with 21 points, missing a double-double by one rebound.
LaLu will take on Findlay Prep will play tomorrow in a rematch. LaLu knocked off the Pilots early January at the Cancer Research Classic. After the game I spoke with PJ Washington, and his exact words were, ″we′ll see them again″. He was right.