Montverde Academy (Fla.)
made its case for a national championship Saturday by beating No. 10 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
71-62 in the final of Dick's Sporting Goods High School National Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The Eagles (28-0) strengthened their resume in the Big Apple this week, beating No. 4 Sagemont (Weston, Fla.)
81-63 in the first round and No. 12 Huntington St. Joseph Prep (W.Va.)
56-51 in a Friday slugfest.
Montverde Academy also won the Dick's Nationals (previously known as the National High School Invitational) crown a year ago, beating St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)
in the final.
It appeared the Eagles would cruise to back-to-back titles Saturday against Oak Hill Academy (41-4) as they led by 17 at the half and built a 25-point lead in the third quarter.
But the Warriors went into desperation mode and were able to trim the lead to single digits in the final four minutes. A stretch of four missed free throws in five attempts prevented them from making it uncomfortable for Montverde Academy in the closing moments.
Tournament MVP Ben Simmons
was once again tough to handle. The 6-foot-8 junior forward and native of Australia finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the title tilt. He posted 25 points and 16 rebounds Thursday against Sagemont.
Montverde Academy also received 17 points from senior guard Justin Bibbs
and 16 points and 11 rebounds from backcourt mate D'Angelo Russell
paced Oak Hill Academy with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Saturday's victory improved head coach Kevin Boyle's record to 76-6 in three seasons at Montverde Academy. The Eagles were recognized as national champions by MaxPreps a year ago and will enter the 2014-15 season riding a 34-game winning streak.
Tournament play has been a strong suit for the Orlando-area school during Boyle's tenure. The Eagles are 28-1 over the past two seasons in bracketed competition with first place trophies.
Montverde Academy beat state champions from Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Virginia this season.
MaxPreps will release its final national rankings and announce a national champion late Sunday night.