Montverde Academy of Montverde, Fla. and Findlay Prep of Henderson, Nev. pulled out wins on April 2 to advance to the finals of the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational basketball tournament at Coppin State’s Physical Education Complex in Baltimore.

Both schools will meet in the championship game April 3 at 1:30 p.m., to be aired live on ESPN. Here’s how the semifinals played out:

Montverde beats Winter Park, 62-56
Second-seeded Montverde trailed for most of the game while struggling to contain Winter Park’s Austin Rivers. But a few key turnovers and clutch baskets helped Montverde topple Winter Park of Winter Park, Fla., 62-56, in overtime.

Rivers, a junior and the son of former NBA player and current Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, dazzled at times and finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds but couldn’t push his team to a win in the final moments.

Montverde’s Jamail Jones and James Bell combined for 42 points and 18 rebounds before DeForest Carter scored five of Montverde’s 11 points in overtime to propel Montverde to the championship game.

Findlay Prep cruises by Mountain State Academy, 68-53
Findlay Prep defeated Mountain State Academy from Beckley, W.V., 68-53, in the semifinals to advance to their second consecutive National High School Invitational championship game.

Behind Cory Joseph’s 32 points, Findlay Prep was able to pull through despite a lackluster performance from Texas-bound senior Tristan Thompson, who scored eight points.

After winning the McDonald’s All-American boys’ three-point competition on March 29, Joseph picked up where he left off. The senior scored on drives into the lane, from beyond the arc and from the free throw line as Mountain State tried different defenses aimed at slowing the silky shooter.

Top-ranked Findlay Prep will aim for their second consecutive title, and the combination of Thompson and Joseph, both McDonalds All-Americans, should aid the team as they square off against national powerhouse Montverde in the title game.

Findlay Prep and Montverde are currently the fourth and fifth-ranked teams in ESPN’s national high school rankings.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO