FORT MYERS, Fla. –
The State Farms City of Palms Classic championship game will feature a rematch between a pair of Texas teams that played less than a week ago Wednesday night at Bishop Verot High School.
Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas)
and Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas)
– both nicknamed the Lions – will meet for the second time in six days for an opportunity to become of the first Lone Star State winner of the prestigious event.
Grace Prep defeated Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
, 53-45, and Prestonwood Christan topped Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.)
, 71-66. Grace Prep defeated Prestonwood Christian 79-64 last Thursday in a nationally-televised showdown.
Prestonwood Christian forward Julius Randle
, a 6-foot-9 manchild pegged as one of the top juniors in the country, likes his team's chances in the rematch.
"We just need to step up," Randle said.
Semifinal: Prestonwood Christian 71, Riverside Academy 66
Prestonwood Christian put its size to work against Riverside Academy, getting 31 points and 15 rebounds from Randle and 14 points from 6-9 Kansas-bound senior Zach Peters
The Rebels had no answer for Randle, who sealed the game when he slapped the ball away from Lucas Martin-Julien
with 2:43 to play. Randle snatched the loose ball and went to the basket for a dunk to give Prestonwood a 65-63 lead. Riverside had multiple opportunities to recapture the lead down the stretch, but the Rebels missed 5 of 8 free throws in the final two minutes.
Prestonwood led 21-16 after the first period and started the second period with an 8-1 run that included a pair of dunks by Randle. Riverside cut into the lead late in the second period with help from some half-court pressure defense. Donald Thomas Jr.
scored on a dunk after a steal by Charvon Julien
to make it 36-27, and Ricardo Gathers
scored on a putback after another steal to make it 36-29 at the half.
In the fourth period, John Lewis
helped Riverside capture the lead for the first time by capping a 12-0 run with a 3-pointer. Riverside regained possession inside the final three minutes and appeared willing to hold it and force Prestonwood to foul. Instead, Randle chased down Martin-Julien, reached in and slapped the ball and beat him to the basket for the bucket.
"I just knew my team needed someone to step up. So I went for the ball," Randle said.
Both teams missed several foul shots in the final period, but Prestonwood sank some key free throws in the final two minutes to seal the win. Freshman Mickey Mitchell continued his solid showing at the Classic with 12 points, eight assists and three rebounds.Semifinal: Grace Prep 53, Montverde Academy 45
Grace Prep survived a slugfest against Montverde Academy, prevailing despite committing 24 turnovers and taking 14 fewer shots.
Keyed by 7-foot senior center Isaiah Austin
in the paint and 6-4 sophomore Emmanuel Mudiay
and 6-4 senior Jelon Hornbeak
on the perimeter, the Lion defense held Montverde Academy to 32 percent from the field and forced 18 turnovers.
Austin rejected five shots and Mudiay and Hornbeak each snagged four steals while pressuring Montverde point guard Kasey Hill
and shooting guard Michael Frazier
Montverde's cold shooting extended to the free-throw line, too. The Eagles connected only 3 of 11 foul shots. Conversely, Grace Prep shot 44 percent from the field and 69 percent from the foul line. The Lions also committed fewer fouls.
Grace Prep dazzled in the final period with some key steals by Mudiay and Hornbeak and a pair of alley-oop slams. Austin slammed home a lob pass from Mudiay, and Mudiay fed 6-7 junior forward Jordan Mickey
moments later to open a 44-38 Grace Prep lead.
Frazier hit a trey to pull Montverde within four points late in the fourth period and the Eagles recovered a turnover with a chance to shave the lead to a single bucket. Instead, Montverde missed a free throw and Hornbeak recovered and drew a foul. The Lions closed out the game with solid foul shooting in the final two minutes.
Austin finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. Mickey had 10 points and seven rebounds. Mudiay had 10 points and seven assists.
Montverde forward Miguel Cartagena
scored a team-high 10 points. No other Eagle player reached double digits. Landry Nnoko
, a 6-11 center headed to Clemson, had six blocks and eight rebounds.More Tuesday scores from City of Palms ClassicBishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)
62, Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.)
, Bishop Gorman: 28 points, 15 reboundsMater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
63, St. Raymond (Bronx, N.Y.)
, Mater Dei: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assistsBlanche Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.)
64, Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)
, Blance Ely: 26 pointsGill St. Bernard's (Gladstone, N.J.)
72, Lake Wales (Fla.)
, Gill St. Bernard's: 23 points, 8 assistsBishop Verot (Fort Myers, Fla.)
78, Constitution (Philadelphia, Pa.)
, Bishop Verot: 22 points, 10 reboundsTrinity (Louisville, Ky.)
76, Taft (Cincinnati, Ohio)
, Trinity: 21 points