Video: High school basketball Top 25No. 1 Montverde takes down No. 3 University in the GEICO Nationals finals
If there were any doubts coming in, they were all swatted and shot down by Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
Saturday in New York City.
The Eagles finished off a perfect 36-0 season with perhaps their most dominating performance, a 76-58 win over University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
in the finals of the 10th GEICO High School Nationals. The victory cemented their case as 2017-18 national champions.
Fittingly, R.J. Barrett
, the nation's top-ranked senior and winner of four National Player of the Year honors already, put together a swan-song performance with game highs of 25 points and 15 rebounds to finish with 80 points over the three-game tournament. It was the Eagles' their fourth GEICO championship, breaking a tie with Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.).
The Duke-bound Barrett made 11-of-23 shots and will go down with other Montverde alums — D'Angelo Russell, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid — as one of its greatest players.
"This is the cherry on top," Barrett told the ESPN television audience. "We've been working on this since August."
Barrett had plenty of help, too.
Georgia Tech-signee Mike Devoe
made five 3-pointers en route to 21 points, Gonzaga-bound Filip Petrusev
added 15 points and Florida pledge Andrew Nembhard
had eight points, but 13 assists as the Hawks turned around a defeat in last year's title game.
They also did a tremendous job on University's 6-foot-10, 250-pound five-star junior Vernon Carey
, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds, but made 5-of-16 shots. He scored most of his points after this one was decided, which came early in the third quarter. Carey had 29 points in the team's semifinal win over Oak Hill Academy.
The Eagles also held down West Virginia pledge
, who made just 1-of-8 shots and finished with five. He had 17 points against Oak Hill.
Montverde made six of its 11 3-pointers in the third, to extend its lead to 64-44. The Eagles outscored University in every quarter.
The third-ranked Sharks (35-2) held close for a half, largely behind the effort of sophomore Scott Barnes
, who made 10-of-22 shots and finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. The Sharks just had trouble shooting overall, making just 33 percent of their shot from the floor (24-of-61). The Florida 5A state champions, who earlier this year claimed titles at the City of Palms Classic and John Wall Invitational, were 6-of-14 from the free-throw line.
Devoe was lights out from the floor all game, making 8-of-10 shots. The Eagles were 51 percent from the field (31-of -61), including 11-for-24 on 3s.
The Eagles won the event, previously known as Dick's Sporting Goods High
School Nationals, in 2013, 2014 and 2015. With three straight wins in this season's tournament, they
improved their record at the event to 19-4.
"(Winning) never gets old," Montverde coach Kevin Boyle said.