Mark Taylor's turnaround effort at St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)
just keeps getting more impressive.
And the Gray Bees needed an in-game turnaround Thursday to get past Florida Class 7A state champion Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach)
67-61 in opening-round action at the ESPNHS National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda, Md.
St. Benedict's trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half and 40-32 at halftime, but rallied behind the guard trio of Melvin Johnson
(17 points, 7 rebounds), Tyler Ennis
(14 points, 4 assists) and freshman Isaiah Briscoe
(11 points, 4 assists). Big man Isaiah Watkins
added 14 points and 14 rebounds.
After a disastrous season by program standards a year ago, Taylor stepped in and immediately restored the Gray Bees to national power status. The New Jersey squad – ranked No. 3 in MaxPreps.com's Academy Top 10 – improved to 34-2 with Thursday's victory and will face two-time NHSI champion Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
in Friday's semifinals.
The Tigers (30-3) saw a strong season come to an end despite 18 points and seven rebounds from Clide Geffrard
.Montverde Academy (Fla.)
and Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.)
will square off in Friday's second semifinal after first-round wins.
No. 2 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 79, Coolidge (Washington, D.C.) 44
One night after playing in the McDonald's All-American Game, Anthony Bennett
scored a game-high 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds as Findlay Prep cruised past Coolidge.
Bennett joined fellow All-American Brandon Ashley
(11 points) off the Pilot bench due to their absence from the team in the days leading up to the event. Dominic Artis
(14) and Winston Shepard
(12) also turned in double-digit scoring efforts for Findlay Prep (30-1).Khalen Cumberlander
managed to produce 13 points for the over-matched Colts, champions of the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association.No. 7 Montverde Academy (Fla.) 62, No. 5 La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.) 54
In a game where both teams struggled shooting the ball, junior guard Kasey Hill
tallied 19 points and six assists to lead Montverde Academy to the semifinals.
Hill and senior backcourt partner Michael Frazier
– both future Florida Gators – combined to shoot just 11 of 35 from the field and Montverde Academy (22-3) shot 33.3 percent as a team. But the Eagle defense contributed to an even worse shooting performance by La Lumiere at 32.3 percent.Michel Enanga
came up big on the glass for the Florida program with 15 rebounds to go along with 11 points.
Purdue signee Raphael Davis
paced La Lumiere (25-3) with 17 points and nine boards.No. 6 Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) 64, No. 8 Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.) 48
University of Virginia signee Justin Anderson
led the defending NHSI champs against Ravenscroft with 21 points.
The Mustangs (21-2) won their fourth game in a row at the event, also getting solid contributions from Ishmail Wainright
(15 points, 7 rebounds) and Michael Carrera
(15 rebounds).Anton Gill
scored a team-high 16 points for Ravenscroft (31-4), who was the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 3A state champion.