IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
came into this year's GEICO Nationals seeking its first tournament win. The Ascenders left with the program's first national title.
No. 4 IMG Academy never trailed in Saturday's championship game, taking home a 66-55 victory over No. 2 La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.)
. The Ascenders jumped out to an early 5-0 advantage they never relinquished in the impressive wire-to-wire victory over the previously unbeaten Lakers (30-1).
Video: GEICO Nationals: IMG Academy vs. La Lumiere
IMG Academy claims its first GEICO Nationals title.
IMG Academy (29-1) did it on both ends of the court, with a strong effort from each of their 5-star prospects. North Carolina signee Armando Bacot Jr.
didn't put up eye-popping statistics in the title game, but may have made the biggest impact for the Ascenders. Bacot neutralized the paint and held Isaiah Stewart
to 14 points and seven rebounds — with Stewart's first basket in the second half coming with 5 minutes remaining in the fourth.
Offensively, Arizona signee Josh Green
led the Ascenders with 13 of his 19 points in the first half to get the ball rolling. Tournament MVP Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
may have put together the most complete game, finishing with 18 points, seven boards and six assists on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting. Jaden Springer
continued his stellar play over the course of the three-day event, supplying 12 points, seven assists and five rebounds in the victory.
La Lumiere (30-1) never gave up, but failed to find any rhythm on the offensive end. Kentucky commit Keion Brooks
struggled from the field, going 6-of-18 from the field to finish with a team-high 15 points in the loss.
IMG Academy (29-1) finishes atop high school basketball for the first time in program history after a strong run to end the season. On the heels of a 16-point, fourth-quarter comeback in their 74-73 semifinal win over Montverde Academy, the Ascenders left zero doubt in the dominant title game performance.
Girls GEICO Nationals
One day after avenging its last loss, New Hope Academy
capped its season Saturday with a low-scoring 45-34 GEICO Nationals
championship win, beating the top two ranked teams in the process.
Friday, New Hope (40-3) avenged its last loss, a Dec. 21 61-60 overtime
loss to Miami Country Day, beating the Spartans 60-52. On Saturday, New
Hope completed its one-two punch with the 11-point win over No. 2 St. John's that saw the Tigers use a 15-2 fourth-quarter run to bury the Cadets.
Hope's defense held the Cadets to single-digit scoring in three
quarters, the outlier a 20-point outburst after half that gave St.
John's a 32-30 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
But the Tigers started the fourth quarter on an 11-0 run before an Azzi Fudd
basket, the lone St. John's points in the period, cut the New Hope lead to 41-34 with a little over one minute remaining.
paced New Hope with 13 points, including 6-of-6 from the free throw line, while Kylie Kornegay-Lucas
added 11. Fudd was the Cadet's lone double-figures scorer with game-high 14.