Oak Hill Academy 61, Huntington St. Joseph’s Prep 51
The “dream showdown” between the nation’s top two high school basketball teams is now set for Saturday as the title game at DICK’S High School Nationals Tournament. Undefeated (with one forfeit win) Oak Hill Academy (VA) bested Huntington St. Joseph’s Prep (WV) on the strength of a strong fourth quarter in a semifinal game at Christ the King High School on Friday.
The contest was relatively tight throughout the 32 minute game, with the exception of the last few minutes. Future Florida State Seminoles wing Dwayne Bacon showed flashes of his status as one of the nation’s elite seniors. His performance was uneven but demonstrated at times what a dangerous offensive player he is to defend.
Bacon’s supporting cast carried the Warriors despite furious opposition. Ohio State signee Daniel Giddens posted a double-double, scoring near the rim and rebounding in a prodigious fashion. Junior forward Joe Hampton, a former Penn State pledge, showed his savvy game and added much needed scoring pop.
For Huntington Prep, 6′-6″ junior forward Miles Bridges showcased his versatile offensive game, and scoring chops. He’ll have the ability to be a McDonald’s All America game pick next season as his development progresses, with his size, athleticism and long range shotmaking. On the interior, touted unsigned senior center Thomas Bryant played well in stretches but didn’t get as many touches as his talent-level would dictate.
Oak Hill will unquestionably have their hands full against Montverde Academy tomorrow, but their 47-0 record certainly shows what a successful season they’ve had and what a special team this is.
Montverde Academy 57, Findlay Prep 53 (Overtime)
In a slow-paced game beset by poor outside shooting, the favored Montverde Academy (FL) Eagles outlasted a Findlay Prep (NV) team decimated by foul outs in overtime in the first semifinal game at DICK’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals.
As expected, the elite recruits for both squads virtually carried their teams in an intense, if poorly played match-up. Arizona Wildcats bound guard Allonzo Trier shook off pain and fatigue to demonstrate his status as one of the most complete shooting guards in the country. His deadeye shooting from the charity stripe kept Findlay Prep in the game at times.
Likewise, future LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons showed his crafty passing in transition and smooth all-around game which has spurred many to call him the best prospect in the country. After a slow first half, Simmons was dominant in scoring near the hoop and clearing the glass in stretches for Montverde Academy. He finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Elite junior point guard Derryck Thornton hit two free throws to push Findlay Prep’s lead to 42-40 in the last minute, but Montverde Academy’s Florida bound post Noah Dickerson was sent to the line with 6 seconds left with a chance to tie. Dickerson missed both shots, but teammate Martez Cameron recovered the ball in a flurry, and sent the game to overtime with a layin.
Technical fouls with 1:33 left in overtime saw made foul shots put the score at 50-50. The Eagles finished out with a 3-pointer and layup to push the final margin to a 57-54 win. Simmons now leads the Eagles into Saturday’s championship at Madison Square Garden.