IMG Academy takes on Sunrise Christian Academy at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Friday while Montverde Academy meets AZ Compass Prep at 4:30 p.m. with a trip to the finals on the line.
The Ascenders, the reigning event champion, fended off a late 22-7 run from No. 7 Milton (Ga.)
to escape with a 73-68 victory in the opening contest. Although Milton (28-3) never led in the game, the scrappy public school battled from down 17 points in the second half to cut the deficit to one point with 1:25 remaining.
IMG Academy responded on its next possession with a corner 3 from junior Eric Dailey
, followed by a critical defensive stop that resulted in a quick transition layup by five-star junior Jaden Bradley
to stretch the lead to a comfortable six points with just 41 seconds remaining.
Bradley finished with a team-high 20 points to go along with six assists and four rebounds, while fellow five-star junior Jarace Walker
chipped in 16 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three blocks off the bench for IMG Academy (21-2).
Ohio State pledge Bruce Thornton
had 18 points, nine assists and six rebounds for Milton in the loss.
In the second quarterfinal contest, Sunrise Christian Academy (20-3) escaped with a 56-55 win against No. 12 Prolific Prep of Napa Christian (Napa, Calif.)
as the Buffaloes finished the game on a 12-4 run to overcome their largest deficit of the game, a 51-44 deficit with 4:23 remaining.
A Kennedy Chandler
steal and assist led to a Kendall Brown
fast break dunk to give Sunrise Christian Academy a 54-53 advantage with 1:40 remaining, but Prolific Prep (31-4) responded with a pair of free-throws on the other end with 53 seconds remaining to give them the one-point edge.
On the other end, Kennedy Chandler penetrated the defense to draw a double team before kicking out to an open Zach Clemence,
who attacked the closeout and finished with a game-winning reverse slam with 35 seconds remaining. A pair of defensive stops closed out the gritty win for the Buffaloes.
Brown, the Baylor signee, led all scorers with 21 points, while Tennessee-bound Chandler had 11 points, six steals, five assists and three rebounds.
A balanced attack led top-seed Montverde Academy (22-1) to a convincing 85-64 victory over
Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
. The Eagles never trailed and held a comfortable lead throughout, leading by as many as 24 points early in the third period.
Michigan signee Caleb Houstan
finished with a team-high 20 points, seven points and three rebounds, while No. 2 ranked junior center Jalen Duren
had 15 points and nine rebounds.
Five-star junior MJ Rice
scored 23 points and added four rebounds for the 20-9 Warriors.
After shooting just 5-of-23 from the field over the first two quarters, the Dragons responded with a second-half flurry, shooting 12-of-24 in the second half to outscore the Tigers 41-27.
MaxPreps National Player of the Year finalist TyTy Washington
continued to bolster his impressive senior campaign, pumping in a game-high 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
finished with 20 points, four rebounds and three steals in the loss for Wasatch Academy (18-7).
GEICO Nationals schedule
Friday, April 2Games on ESPN2 (Eastern time)
2:30 p.m. — Sunrise Christian Academy vs. IMG Academy
4:30 p.m. — Montverde Academy vs. AZ Compass Prep
Saturday, April 3Game on ESPN
Noon — Championship