High-SchoolBoys-Basketball: National High School Invitational

Bennett comes full circle; FAB 50 implications

March, 31, 2012
3/31/12
6:05
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BETHESDA, Md. -- It was a special moment for tournament MVP Anthony Bennett of Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.). Not many of the national television audience realize the No. 7 player in the ESPNU 100 played only 10 games for the Pilots heading into the NHSI and missed the majority of their big wins this season.

With all the setbacks Bennett has endured over the past two seasons, he was relieved to finally lead Findlay Prep to an NHSI title by averaging 15.7 points and 8.7 rebounds in the Pilots' three victories here.

As a sophomore, he was a member of the Mountain State Academy (Beckley, W.Va.) team that lost to Findlay Prep 68-53 in the semifinals. He scored 10 points in 22 minutes in that loss and netted 12 points in 29 minutes for Findlay Prep in its quarterfinal loss to Dwyer (Pompano Beach, Fla.) last season.

"This is the farthest I came in this tournament," said Bennett, one of five Pilots in double figures with 13 points to go with a game-high 9 rebounds in the championship-game comeback win over Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.).

"Coming in, I really wanted to win it this year," Bennett said.

The unsigned Bennett, who lists Washington, Oregon, UNLV, Kentucky and Florida as his college finalists, missed nearly half of his junior season at Findlay. His back injury flared up again at the beginning of this season. His hamstring injury lingered all season long and he was relieved to be healthy for the NHSI.

He's crossing his fingers about next season.

"Hopefully that doesn't happen in college," Bennett said. "Hopefully my college trainer will take care of me."

Now The Fun Part

The final POWERADE FAB 50 national rankings, which will be released on April 2, will have some shuffling based on the results of this year's NHSI. With No. 12 Montverde Academy giving up an 18-point lead and losing to No. 2 Findlay Prep, there will be a spirited No. 1 versus No. 2 rankings debate between No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and the Pilots.

The big question is if one-loss Findlay has done enough to overcome 44-0 Oak Hill. On paper, the Pilots have a strong enough résumé to be ranked No. 1 in the country.

They own wins over No. 5 Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas), No. 6 Simeon (Chicago) and No. 11 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas). For the past few seasons, most of those big wins came on the road and this season was no exception.

Ironically, this game had the same feel as Findlay's only loss this season -- a one-point setback to No. 23 La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) on Dec. 29 at the Mike Miller Classic in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Pilots trailed in that game by the same margin as they did to Montverde, but the difference was at the NHSI they were able to complete the comeback win.

"At halftime, I told the guys 'Here we go again, December 29, La Lumiere,'" Findlay Prep coach Michael Peck said. "I pulled out all the different motivation factors. At first I really got into them, then I tried to be calm and use logic."

Peck's tactics worked against Montverde, but the La Lumiere loss is still a part of the equation when it comes to the final FAB 50 rankings. Another key part of the equation is the common opponent factor, which has always been an important aspect of the FAB 50. Oak Hill Academy defeated the same La Lumiere team by 18 points and owns five wins over opponents currently ranked in the FAB 50.

Another smaller factor which will be used in the final analysis is the fact La Lumiere lost in the quarterfinals of the NHSI to Montverde. The Lakers didn't look overly impressive in the 62-54 defeat. Findlay has to be thrilled about its comeback win over Montverde, but had La Lumiere advanced to the NHSI finals, an avenging win would have been sweeter from a rankings perspective.

No Oak Hill, No Problem

After knocking off No. 12 Montverde in the NHSI title game, the popular question for No. 2 Findlay was whether the win meant as much despite not coming against No. 1 Oak Hill Academy.

The Warriors opted not to compete in the NHSI for the first time since its inception in 2009. Oak Hill, which finished the season 44-0, traveled to China from March 7 to 19 to play nine games against international competition. The Warriors went on spring break when they got back, according to coach Steve Smith.

Findlay finished 32-1.

“All we could control was playing these games and winning these games,” Nigel Williams-Goss said. “Whatever happens on Monday with the rankings happens. We’re just happy about this win.”

Added Peck: “That’s something we can’t control. All we could do is control us. Steve [Smith] has his reasons and that’s his decision. We were focused on us.”

2012 ESPNHS NHSI All-Tournament

Anthony Bennett, Findlay Prep (MVP)
Brandon Ashley, Findlay Prep
Kasey Hill, Montverde Academy
Michael Carrera, Montrose Christian
Melvin Johnson, St. Benedict's

Jason Jordan contributed to this report.

Findlay steals NHSI title from Montverde

March, 31, 2012
3/31/12
5:28
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BETHESDA, Md. -- Anthony Bennett knew it all along.

While everyone else had written him and top-seeded Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) off after falling behind by as many as 18 points late in the second half to No. 3 seed Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) in the ESPNHS National High School Invitational title game, Bennett knew it was only a matter of time before the Pilots turned the tables.

With 1.2 seconds left in overtime, Bennett tipped Eagles forward Patricio Garino’s inbounds pass out of bounds, clapped his hands together and yelled to the stands, “We ain’t losing fam! We ain’t losing!”

Bennett was right.

Findlay (32-1) managed an improbable comeback late in the fourth quarter to force overtime and eventually steal an 86-83 win over the Eagles (23-3) to claim the ESPNHS NHSI title Saturday at Georgetown Prep, in a game that was nationally televised on ESPN.

It was the Pilots’ third ESPNHS NHSI title in four years. Findlay, which is ranked No. 2 in the POWERADE FAB 50, won back to back in 2009 and 2010.

Brandon Ashley led the Pilots with 31 points, while Nigel Williams-Goss added 17 and Bennett, the tournament's MVP, chipped in with 13 points and eight rebounds. Kasey Hill led Montverde with 23 points and six assists.

“I pulled out everything motivational that I could,” Findlay coach Michael Peck said. “I tried everything, but at some point their switch went on and they got it done. It was all them. It was all them.”

Added Ashley: “This was the best way to go out. We fought hard and we got it done. We never got down or hung our heads. We always believed in ourselves and we got it done, man. We got it done.”

In the first half it was the Eagles who were getting it done, dominating Findlay in all aspects and claiming a 38-29 lead. Findlay’s big four -- Bennett, Ashley, Dominic Artis and Winston Shepard -- combined to shoot just 5-of-17 in the first half.

The Eagles continued to pour it on in the third quarter, beating the Pilots to loose balls, owning the offensive glass and beating them in transition. Michael Frazier made Findlay pay for switching to a 2-3 zone, draining three of the Eagles’ four third-quarter 3s to extend the Eagles’ lead to 54-39 headed into the fourth.

That’s when Ashley came alive.

He scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, overpowering Montverde’s frontcourt in the paint. Ashley drained two free throws with 20.5 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and send it to overtime.

“Brandon Ashley put the cape on,” Peck said. “He was the Brandon he was supposed to be.”

Montverde coach Kevin Boyle pointed out the fact that the Pilots lived at the free throw line late in the game. The Pilots made 24 of 27 free throws in the second half.

“They got a lot of calls and they were living on the line,” Boyle said. “So that means they’re scoring without the clock moving. They fought hard, but I thought they got a lot of whistles, too.”

Late in overtime, Williams-Goss hit a floater to give the Pilots an 84-83 lead, then Shepard corralled a miss from Hill, got fouled and made both free throws to secure the win.

“This was pretty fun,” Ashley said. “It’s been a lot this week with [the] McDonald’s All-American Game and this tournament, but we got it done. This was the best way to go out. Better than I ever imagined it.”

Star points Artis, Hill clash for NHSI title

March, 30, 2012
3/30/12
6:20
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Dominica Artis and Kasey HillJoe Faraoni/ESPN ImagesMontverde coach Kevin Boyle said he wants Kasey Hill, right, to play "more cocky" and sees an NHSI matchup with Findlay point guard Dominic Artis as the perfect opportunity to up his on-court swag.


BETHESDA, Md. -- Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) coach Kevin Boyle likes his point guards to have a certain pizzazz.

After 23 years at St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.), Boyle became accustomed to guards like Kyrie Irving, Shaheen Holloway and Dexter Strickland, who were so dominant it was hard not to have an on-court swagger about them.

That’s where he wants his current floor general, Kasey Hill, to get mentally.

“This kid’s so humble and nice,” Boyle said of Hill. “I almost want him to be a little cocky on the court. That’s something that he’s developing now so I like for him to play in games or against guys that help with that.”

Hill will get a key opportunity to build that bravado when he and the No. 3-seed Eagles face No. 1 seed Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) and dynamic point guard Dominic Artis Saturday (2 p.m. ET on ESPN) in the ESPNHS National High School Invitational boys' title game.

Findlay, which is ranked No. 2 in the POWERADE FAB 50, is going for its third NHSI title (2009, 2010) in four years. The Pilots beat Montverde, which is ranked No. 12, 59-46 to claim the title in 2010.

“I’m looking forward to matching up against Dominic, for sure,” Hill said. “I don’t know if that’ll make me more cocky. I’m just not that kind of player, but it’d definitely give me even more confidence playing well against a big-time player like that.”

Artis, a senior who is signed to Oregon, is the No. 8 point guard in the ESPNU 100. Boyle referred to him as “Findlay’s head.”

“If you can cut off the head then you’ve got a real shot, you know,” Boyle said. “Kasey’s a great defender and he’ll have his hands full with Dominic, but Kasey’s more than capable of being a lockdown defender against anyone.”

Hill certainly proved that in the semifinal win over Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.), last year’s NHSI champ. He held Mustangs star forward Justin Anderson, a senior who is signed to Virginia, to just one field goal and three points.

“I really try and go hard on defense,” said Hill, a junior who is the No. 3 point guard in the ESPNU 60. “Some guys rest on defense, but I go hard on both ends. I’ll definitely do that tomorrow against Dominic.”

Despite Boyle’s hope for Hill to use the matchup with Artis as a way to build a court-conceited mentality, Artis was quick to point out that, “I’m not the guy people make a name off of.”

“But either way, Kasey’s a great player,” Artis said. “He’s gonna be tough to stop, but we’ll do it together as a team. That’s the best way to stop a player like him.”

Through two games Hill is averaging 19.5 points and 6.5 assists. Artis is averaging 13 points, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals.

Findlay coach Mike Peck coached Hill at the freshman All-American Camp in Lexington, Ky., back in 2010 and said that Hill reminded him of a young Rod Strickland, the former All-NBA point guard who averaged 13.2 points and 7.3 assists over 17 years.

“He’s shifty and he’s got a great feel for the game,” Peck said of Hill. “One thing he’s gotten a lot better at is his ability to shoot it. Obviously he’s having a great tournament here, so he’ll be a handful, there’s no question.”

Peck said that the Pilots would employ the same “elbow block” defensive scheme on Hill that they used against Irving in 2010 when they beat St. Patrick 71-70 at the Hoophall Classic.

“Basically any time Kasey has the ball, the strong-side elbow or block needs to be occupied,” Peck said. “That way if he gets by his man, which he’s good at, the help is right there. Sometimes that will discourage a guy from challenging that first line of defense.”

Artis doesn’t anticipate Hill being discouraged by any defensive scheme the Pilots throw his way.

“I know how great point guards think, and I know that whatever another team tries to throw at me won’t matter," said Artis. "I’m still gonna do my thing. That’s my mentality, and I know that Kasey probably thinks that same way.”

Good guess.

Hill initially downplayed the matchup against Artis, but later admitted that a strong showing against him and the Pilots would “be a win for everyone.”

“Of course I can’t wait to play against a guy like Dominic,” Hill said. “We’re both competitive, and I know we’ll both bring it. I want to play well because it will help my team win a national championship. That’s what’s most important. I know that everything else that comes with that will be a good opportunity for me, too.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

Findlay Prep one win from third NHSI crown

March, 30, 2012
3/30/12
4:43
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BETHESDA, Md. -- Instant analysis of No. 1 seed Findlay Prep's (Henderson, Nev.) 68-55 victory over No. 4 seed St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) in Friday's semifinals of the ESPNHS National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep.

Overview: Findlay Prep, ranked No. 2 in the POWERADE FAB 50, had moments of sluggish play but outscored No. 15 St. Benedict's in every quarter to pull out a 13-point victory. St. Benedict's simply did not shoot well enough against a longer and deeper team. The Gray Bees made 19 of 57 field goals (33 percent) while Findlay Prep shot 24 of 45 (53 percent).

St. Benedict's coach Mark Taylor, in his first season after taking over a program that went 13-12 in 2010-11, felt his two star guards, Melvin Johnson and Tyler Ennis, didn't get their legs under them in the first half. Findlay Prep led 28-17 at halftime and outscored the Gray Bees 18-3 during a stretch late in the third and early in the fourth quarter.

Findlay Prep's lead grew to 51-36 at the conclusion of that run, but three late 3-pointers by Johnson gave the Gray Bees some life. Johnson's final triple made it 63-55 with 1:02 remaining in the game, but St. Benedict's could get no closer.

"They are a scrappy team, they got good guards and they played hard," Findlay Prep coach Mike Peck said.

Turning Point: When Findlay Prep point guard Dominic Artis (12 points) failed to fight over a pick and allowed St. Benedict's Kamall Richards (9 points) to nail a 3-pointer with one second left in the first quarter. The Pilots outplayed the Gray Bees in the first quarter, but only led by two points (15-13). Peck gave his players a tongue-lashing at the break and they picked it up defensively the rest of the way.

"We came out flat in the first quarter and we didn't get to the rim," Taylor said. "We played better in the second half, but I thought we over-dribbled and didn't move the ball in the second quarter. We gave up too many transition buckets because of that."

Key Player: Findlay Prep wing Winston Shepard. The 6-foot-8 San Diego State recruit is the Pilots' best defender and most consistent performer on both ends of the floor. He loves the challenge of guarding the opposition's best player. He did a solid job on Johnson, a Miami recruit who came into the tournament averaging 22.5 points.

Johnson finished 5 of 16 from the field for 15 points, while Shepard led four Findlay Prep players in double figures with 17. Shepard made 7 of 8 field-goal attempts and added two assists and three steals.

Key Stat: St. Benedict's only made two field goals in the pivotal second quarter. The first came from Johnson at the 3:46 mark and made the score 21-15. Standout freshman Isaiah Briscoe (team-high 17 points) made the other at 1:17 to make the score 26-17. That was it for St. Benedict's in that eight-minute period as Findlay Prep outscored them, 13-4.

"We just picked it up in the second quarter," Shepard said. "We played hard defense and shot the gaps. We did our best to take out their two best players (Ennis and Johnson)."

St. Benedict's did not attempt a free throw in the first half and made only 7 of 26 field goals in the first half. For a team that did not get to the line, the Gray Bees needed to shoot a higher percentage from the field in order to win the game.

Up Next: The top-seeded Pilots will play No. 3 seed Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) for the 2012 NHSI title Saturday at 2pm ET on ESPN. It's a rematch of the 2010 NHSI title game when Findlay Prep defeated the Eagles, 59-46. Findlay Prep will look to win its third NHSI championship in four years while Montverde Academy will look to capture its first title.

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN

Montverde squeaks past Montrose Christian

March, 30, 2012
3/30/12
2:51
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BETHESDA, Md. -- Instant analysis from No. 3 seed Montverde’s (Fla.) 50-47 win over No. 2 seed Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) in the semifinals of the ESPNHS National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep on Friday:

Overview: The Eagles, who are ranked No. 12 in the POWERADE FAB 50, had to adjust to Montrose’s frantic defensive pressure, but when they figured it out, they made the Mustangs pay by moving the ball around and finding the open man. Michael Frazier knocked down two threes to ignite an early 8-0 run and put the Eagles ahead after falling behind 4-0. Still, neither team could do much to separate itself in the first half. It wasn’t until the third quarter that the Eagles’ duo of Frazier and Kasey Hill, who led the Eagles with 20 points, started to really expose Montrose’s overzealous defensive scheme. That led to a 12-point Montverde lead headed into the fourth. The Mustangs, who are ranked No. 9 in the FAB 50, stormed back in the fourth quarter and took their first lead, 41-40, with 2:11 left in regulation on Michael Carrera’s putback layup. Down the stretch, Hill came up with big buckets to give the Eagles a cushion. Mustangs forward Justin Anderson’s halfcourt heave at the buzzer missed off the back of the rim and the Eagles marched on. Montrose won the ESPNHS NHSI last year, a double-overtime thriller over Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.).

“They just couldn’t score in the halfcourt set,” said Montverde coach Kevin Boyle said. “They had one basket in the halfcourt in the first half. We just really tightened up defensively and got a big win over a great team.”

Turning Point: After the Mustangs opened the fourth quarter on a 14-2 run and eventually took the lead, Hill responded by scoring six of the Eagles’ final 10 points to seal the win.

“I wasn’t gonna lose the game,” said Hill, a Florida commit. “I knew that I could get to the rim when I wanted to, and I would have to step up and make plays. I didn’t want to let my team down.”

Key Player: Anderson, the No. 55 player in the ESPNU 100, had one of his worst statistical games of the season, shooting just 1 of 14 from the field and finishing with just three points. He was scoreless in the first half, and scored his only field goal on a breakaway layup with 5:14 left in the third quarter.

“It happens as a ballplayer,” said Anderson, a Virginia signee. “Sometimes you have bad games. This was just a bad game for me.”

Added Boyle: “Kasey did a terrific job guarding Justin. He forced him into tough shots all day and when he drove he had to shoot over our big guys. Kasey’s impact defensively was huge.”

Key Stat: The Mustangs shot 7 of 16 from the 3-point line in their quarterfinal win over Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.). But in the loss to Montverde, Montrose missed all seven of its attempts from downtown.

“We did a great job of getting our hands up on their shot attempts,” Boyle said. “I don’t think they had a clean look all day, and that’s a credit to the kids and their defensive pressure.”

Up Next: The Eagles will face No. 1 seed Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) in the title game Saturday (2 p.m. ET on ESPN). Findlay Prep is ranked No. 2 in the POWERADE FAB 50. Montverde Academy is ranked No. 12.

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

Findlay Prep cruises into NHSI semis

March, 29, 2012
3/29/12
10:45
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BETHESDA, Md. -- Instant analysis from No. 1 seed Findlay Prep's (Henderson, Nev.) 79-44 victory over No. 8 seed Coolidge (Washington, D.C.) in Thursday's quarterfinals of the ESPNHS National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep.

Overview: Findlay Prep coach Mike Peck didn't start forwards Anthony Bennett and Brandon Ashley, McDonald's All-Americans who played in Chicago on Wednesday night. It hardly mattered as the Pilots were just too big and talented. Nearly every field goal Coolidge made was a chore and Coolidge was out rebounded, 60-29.

After leading 18-12 at the end of the first quarter, Findlay Prep doubled up on the Colts by the middle of the second quarter and never looked back. "Rebounding was the difference in the game," Coolidge coach Mike Jones said. "Our speed usually gives top teams problems, but we just missed the shots we needed to make."

Turning Point: When Findlay Prep took the floor and jumped out to a 7-2 lead. The Pilots quickly established it would take a near miracle for the Washington D.C. Public Schools champs to stay within single digits. Outside of two spectacular lay-ups by Central Connecticut State recruit Khalen Cumberlander (team-high 13 points) that cut Coolidge's deficit to three points (12-9) midway through the first quarter, once-beaten Findlay Prep was firmly in control. To put it into perspective, Coolidge lost to POWERADE FAB 50 No. 13 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) in the Abe Polin City Title Game on March 20 by six points, 70-64.

Key Player: Bennett. When he entered the game with 4:32 remaining in the first quarter it changed its complexion. Bennett, ranked No. 7 in the ESPNU 100, played 13 minutes in the McDonald's Game. While Ashley's fatigue from his 15 minutes in that game, combined with the travel from Chicago to Maryland, caused him to play sluggishly, Bennett was dialed in. The unsigned recruit played inspired on the defensive end and was a difficult match up for Coolidge's defense. He constantly drew fouls underneath and finished plays in transition.

Bennett finished with a game-high 23 points in 18 minutes. He made 14-of-17 free throws and also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. "I didn't want to have the same thing that happened to us last year (a quarterfinal loss) happen again," Bennett said. "I want to play for the opportunity to win a national championship."

Key Stat: Findlay Prep made 18-of-23 free throws in the first half when they built a 43-25 lead. Coolidge just didn't have the size inside to contend with the two-time NHSI champions. When the Pilots got fouled, they went to the line and converted to create separation. For the game, Findlay Prep went 31-of-43 from the charity stripe, whereas Coolidge went 8-of-15.

Up Next: The Pilots, ranked No. 2 in the FAB 50, will meet No. 15 St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) in tomorrow's second boys' semifinal at 1:30 PM ET. All the top seeds and higher ranked team won in their openers.

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN
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BETHESDA, Md. -- Instant analysis from No. 4 seed St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) 67-61 win over No. 5 seed Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.) in the quarterfinals of the National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep on Thursday:

Overview: St. Benedict's found itself trailing by double digits in the second quarter, but the Gray Bees tightened up on defense in the second half and surged past Blanche Ely, 67-61, to advance to the semifinals of the ESPNHS National High School Invitational.

Blanche Ely, the No. 16 team in the POWERADE FAB 50, shot 57 percent in the first half and held a 40-32 lead at the half. St. Benedict's, ranked No. 15 in the FAB 50, responded by coming out of the locker room in lockdown mode, holding Blanch Ely to just seven points in the third quarter. Senior guard Melvin Johnson and freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe were pivotal, as they came up with three steals apiece.

Johnson, the No. 92 player in the ESPNU 100, scored a team-high 17 points. Briscoe added 11, and junior guard Tyler Ennis chipped in 14.

Turning Point: The St. Benedict's defense was shredded in the first half. The Gray Bees gave up 40 points, with Blanche Ely senior forward Clide Geffrard and senior guard Benji Bell doing most of the damage on pick-and-rolls. St. Benedict's tried playing man and zone to slow the duo down, but nothing seemed to work.

That changed after halftime. The Gray Bees came out more focused on the defensive end and played straight man the entire half. They held Blanche Ely to 29.6 percent shooting in the second half and forced 10 turnovers (17 overall). That helped St. Benedict's get into the open floor, where the trio of Ennis, Johnson and Briscoe took over.

"We were disappointed in the way we defended in the first half," said St. Benedict's coach Mark Taylor. "In the second half we made the decision that we were going to go man. We hedged harder. We sent weak-side help. We stopped changing the D and went with what worked."

Geffrard scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the first half, mostly on dunks and lay-ups right at the rim. After the break, the St. Benedict's defense held him to just four points on five shots.

"There was a lot of help-side defense (in the second half)," said Geffrard. "They kept switching and rotating."

Key Player: Just a freshman, Briscoe came into the tournament averaging about three points per game. But the 6-foot-3 guard came up huge during St. Benedict's second-half comeback. Briscoe scored 10 of his 11 points after halftime while adding four assists, three steals and a block.

Briscoe also made a game-changing play midway through the fourth quarter. With St. Benedict's clinging to a two-point lead, he stripped his man at midcourt and went to the floor to make the diving steal. He then got up, gained control and drove in for a lay-up to make it a 55-51 game.

Junior Isaiah Watkins also had a huge game for the Gray Bees, as the 6-foot-8 forward posted 14 points and 14 rebounds, including nine offensive boards.

Key Stat: With Blanche Ely making almost 60 percent of its shots in the first half, St. Benedict's couldn't fully utilize its three-guard offense in the open court. But once the defense clamped down in the second half, the Gray Bees' offense took off. St. Benedict's finished with 20 fast break points, compared to just 10 for Blanche Ely.

Up Next: With top-seeded Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) -- the No. 2 team in the POWERADE FAB 50 -- looming as a potential opponent in the NHSI semifinals, St. Benedict's is going to need more production from its bench. The Gray Bees played just two subs against Blanche Ely, with the bench guys contributing five points in 23 minutes. Findlay Prep is arguably the deepest squad in the nation and is uniquely qualified to take advantage of any team's lack of depth.

Montrose Christian rolls past Ravenscroft

March, 29, 2012
3/29/12
6:56
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BETHESDA, Md. -- Instant analysis from No. 2 seed Montrose Christian’s (Rockville, Md.) 64-48 win over No. 7 seed Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.) in the quarterfinals of the National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep Thursday:

Overview: Montrose Christian, ranked No. 9 in the POWERADE Fab 50, caught fire early, draining three 3-pointers in the first quarter to claim an early 16-7 lead. Montrose forward Justin Anderson had two of his own and ramped up the defensive pressure to help the Mustangs force eight turnovers and keep the Ravens at bay for much of the first half.

Montrose shot 60 percent from the 3-point line in the first half. Then Mustangs went on a 9-0 run midway through the third that devastated Ravenscroft.

The Ravens started forcing tough, contested threes and folding under the Mustangs’ intense defensive pressure.

“We had to get our rhythm back because we hadn’t played in a long time,” said Montrose coach Stu Vetter. “But these guys are strong and they really battled. Our defensive intensity was the difference in the game. We picked up our momentum defensively and that’s what got it done.”

Turning Point: Up just 36-32 midway through the third quarter, Montrose forward Ishmail Wainright caught Yuri Togashi’s missed three off the rim and flushed it with authority, sending the Montrose-heavy crowd into a frenzy. On the next play, the Mustangs forced a turnover and found Anderson in the right corner for the three. Then, after another Ravenscroft turnover, Togashi threw Anderson an alley-oop in transition.

That sequence of events seemed to take the Ravens’ heart.

“Their physicality hurt us,” Ravenscroft coach Kevin Billerman said. “We’d cut it to four, but then they went on that explosion and that made it really tough for us.”

Key Player: Anderson was a matchup problem for the Ravens all night. When they sagged off he drained threes and when they pushed up on him he drove the lane and made plays. Anderson finished with 21 points, four rebounds and three assists.

“Justin’s one of the best players in the country,” Vetter said. “I’ve coached a lot of great players and he’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached. I think a lot of people have overlooked him as far as McDonald’s and Jordan All-American games. He’s one of the best players in the country without question.”

Ravenscroft guard Anton Gill drained two 3-pointers in the loss, tying the Ravenscroft record for career 3-pointers at 106, which had been held by Corwin Davis, who starred at Ravenscroft from 1997-2001.

Key Stat: The Ravens shot just 4 of 21 (19 percent) from the 3-point line in their loss. During the regular season they shot 34 percent and broke a school record for 3-pointers made with 138. The old record was 130.

“We haven’t played a game in 32 days,” Billerman said. “We’ve only had seven practices over that time so that’s rough. We had good looks, but we just couldn’t get them to fall.”

Up Next: The Mustangs will face No. 3 seed Montverde (Fla.) Friday (11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2) in the semifinals. Montverde, ranked No. 12 in the POWERADE FAB 50, knocked off La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) 62-54 Thursday in the quarterfinals.

“They’re a great team,” Wainright said of Montverde. “They really play hard, and I’m looking forward to playing against them.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.
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BETHESDA, Md. -- Instant analysis from No. 3 seed Montverde Academy's (Montverde, Fla.) 62-54 win over No. 5 La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) in the quarterfinals of the National High School Invitational at Georgetown Prep Thursday:

Overview: If you like defense, this was the game for you. Montverde Academy used a pressure, trapping D to force La Lumiere into 19 turnovers en route to a 62-54 win in the opening game of the ESPNHS National High School Invitational.

Montverde, No. 12 in the POWERADE FAB 50, didn’t need much offense to win this one, but most of the Eagles’ scoring came from the backcourt of senior Michael Frazier and junior Kasey Hill. The duo combined for 35 points and consistently came up with big plays whenever La Lumiere threatened.

On the other end, Montverde’s defensive performance was staggering. The Eagles held La Lumiere to 32.3 percent shooting from the field and totally shut down the Lakers’ top offensive players. La Lumiere scored just six points in the first quarter and never recovered.

Turning Point: La Lumiere came into the NHSI ranked No. 23 in the POWERADE FAB 50 thanks in large part to the frontcourt of senior forwards Rapheal Davis, Hanner Perea and Jay Simpson. But that trio was almost completely neutralized by Montverde, combining for just 35 points (on 32 shots). Davis and Perea averaged 36.5 combined during the regular season.

Montverde senior forwards Michel Enanga, Landry Nnoko and Patricio Garino were dominant on defense. Enanga grabbed 15 rebounds, Nnoko blocked three shots and Garino played solid man-to-man defense on Davis. They set the tone from the opening tip and La Lumiere was never able to effectively run its offense.

“That was absolutely the difference in the game — they took us out of everything we wanted to do,” said La Lumiere coach Alan Huss. “Nnoko is the key to the whole thing. He’s back there protecting the rim, and even when we were able to beat the press we had trouble finishing.”

Key Players: Florida Gators fans are probably still numb after their loss in the Elite 8, but the performances of Florida recruits Michael Frazier and Kasey Hill must have made them feel a bit better. Hill, a junior point guard, scored a game-high 19 points, while Frazier, a senior shooting guard, tallied 15.

Hill shot just 6-of-21 from the floor, but he put in work at the free-throw line, hitting seven of his eight attempts. Frazier shot 5-of-14 from the field and added seven rebounds while playing tough defense.

“I just tried to play hard,” said Frazier. “My shot wasn’t falling, so I tried to contribute in other ways.”

Key Stat: Montverde Academy coach Kevin Boyle recognized that La Lumiere was lacking in quality ball-handlers, so he applied a pressure defense from the opening tip. The result was 19 turnovers for La Lumiere, which led to 15 points for MVA.

“Whenever they got close, we were able to force a couple turnovers and get easy baskets,” said Boyle.”

Up Next: Montverde Academy will take on the winner of the Ravenscroft-Montrose Christian game. Boyle is hoping for a better performance from Frazier, who was unable to practice for more than three weeks before Thursday’s game because of an illness.

“He missed some shots that he normally makes,” said Boyle of his leading scorer. “If he makes those, this is a completely different game. Hopefully he knocked the rust off and we get his normal results tomorrow.”

All-American Pilots promise champion effort

March, 28, 2012
3/28/12
11:10
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CHICAGO -- Brandon Ashley had to admit that the point was valid, but he wasn’t about to agree with it completely.

Last year, Quinn Cook, Austin Rivers and Myck Kabongo were all adamant that their hectic schedule during the week of the McDonald’s All-American Game plus the minimal amount of sleep they got the night before they flew from Chicago to Bethesda, Md., to play in the National High School Invitational wouldn’t have any bearing on how they performed in the opening round.

The result?

Kabongo’s Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) and Rivers’ Winter Park (Winter Park, Fla.) squads both got sent packing on the first day, while Cook and the Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) Warriors made it to the title game and lost in double overtime to Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.).

All three later conceded that fatigue from a week’s worth of Windy City grinding played a major role in their teams' ultimate demise.

“I hear all that, and that makes sense, but I’m gonna say exactly what they said,” said Ashley, a forward at Findlay Prep who suited up for the West in the McDonald’s All-American Game. “I’m gonna say it won’t affect my game in the least.”

Added Ashley’s Findlay Prep and West teammate Anthony Bennett: “We do this. We will be ready to go out there and do what we’ve got to do at the NHSI, no question.”

We’ll find out Thursday (8 p.m. ET on ESPNU) when the top-seeded Pilots take on No. 8 Coolidge (Washington, D.C.) in the quarterfinals at Georgetown Prep.

“See, what most people don’t understand is that the schedule we’ve been on this week isn’t even as bad as our AAU schedule,” said Ashley, an Arizona signee. “It’s way crazier during the summer. Three games a day; play at 10 p.m. one night and 8 a.m. the next morning. This is nothing.”

Their “nothing” would be overwhelming for many high school players, but at Findlay Prep, even with a lighter load, the travel schedule is more Division I college than high school.

“What’s crazy is we haven’t even traveled as much as we did in the past,” said Bennett, a forward who is ranked No. 7 in the ESPNU 100. “We still play in the big tournaments, but the schedule hasn’t been as hectic this year.”

That’s something that “shocked” Ashley, who transferred to Findlay from Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) for his senior season.

“I expected the travel to be a little worse,” said Ashley, who is ranked No. 10 in the ESPNU 100. “Because it’s ‘Findlay’ and all that. It hasn’t been that bad at all. This week may have been the craziest week, travel-wise, for us.”

Ashley and Bennett will hop on a plane Thursday morning and plan to head straight to the shootaround. After that, both said they plan to grab a long nap before tonight’s game.

“We’ll just rest up and relax as much as possible,” Bennett said. “We know how important this tournament is and we know what happened last year, so we won’t have a repeat of that.”

Kabongo, who just finished his freshman season running the point at Texas, said that the Pilots should be playing “with an enormous chip on their shoulders” after falling so early in last year’s NHSI.

“We fell short of the Findlay standard,” Kabongo said. “They will have to come out and play hard to regain that. I know they will.”

Even if that means they won’t get a shot at knocking off Oak Hill, the top team in the POWERADE FAB 50. Warriors coach Steve Smith opted not to participate in the NHSI this season for the first time since the tournament’s inception in 2009 due to the timing.

The Warriors just returned from a 12-day trip to China on March 20 and immediately went on spring break.

“As a competitor we would’ve loved to see Oak Hill because they’re No. 1 and we’re No. 2,” Ashley said. “But they went and did their thing in China, so it’s all good. We’re focused on what’s in front of us and that’s Coolidge. That’s all we’re worried about.”

To the casual observer, a No. 1 facing a No. 8 is a gift, but Bennett was quick to point out that such thinking was “fool’s gold.”

“I don’t know a whole lot about Coolidge, but I know you’ve got to be good to get in this tournament,” Bennett said. “Only big-time teams get in this.”

Added Ashley: “This isn’t the NCAA tournament. It’s not like a 16-seed playing the top seed. This is a small tournament and everyone is elite. You can’t come in and expect a blowout. I’m not guaranteeing a championship, but what I will say is that we’ll be giving a championship effort.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

Inside the FAB 50: NHSI scenarios

March, 28, 2012
3/28/12
12:04
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This week's National High School Invitational in Bethesda, Md., should have a major impact on the final POWERADE FAB 50 national rankings, which will be released on Monday, April 2.

Here are the possible scenarios being studied this week by the FAB 50 compilers as the NHSI gets underway:

1. If top-seeded Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) convincingly wins three games and possibly avenges its only season loss to No. 6 seed La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.), the Pilots might have an argument to jump idle FAB 50 No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) for the top ranking spot.

Findlay Prep enters the NHSI with a 29-1 record and is No. 2 in the FAB 50. The lone loss was by 67-66 on Dec. 29 at the Mike Miller Classic in Sioux Falls, S. D. Findlay Prep and La Lumiere are in opposite brackets starting Thursday at the NHSI and two wins each would place them in the title game.

La Lumiere is matched with No. 3 seed Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) and Findlay takes on No. 8 seed Coolidge (Washington, D.C.) in the quarterfinals.

Findlay won the first two NHSI titles in 2009 and 2010 before Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) captured the 2011 title.

2. If Montrose repeats as the NHSI champion, the Mustangs could move up from No. 9 to No. 6. They wouldn’t be able to jump past No. 5 Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) due to a head-to-head loss, but No. 6 Simeon (Chicago) suffered its only loss to NHSI participant Findlay Prep.

3. La Lumiere enters the NHSI ranked No. 23 in the FAB 50 but could fall out of the top 25 with a first-round loss to Montverde. The reason? The Lakers' schedule isn't favorable for ranking purposes outside of the win over Findlay. The Lakers not only lost to Oak Hill by 77-59 but also to a four-loss Elgin (Elgin, Ill.) team ranked 16th in the Chicago metro area. The Lakers don't own any other wins over nationally or regionally ranked teams outside of the Findlay upset.

4. Another NHSI team that could drop out of the top 25 with a sub-par showing this week could be No. 4 seed St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.), which faces No. 5 seed Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.) in the quarterfinals.

St. Benedict's enters the event ranked No. 15 in the FAB 50 and has only one season win over a FAB 50 team, No. 46 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), who they beat 64-61 in the consolation game at the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in Frostburg, Md. The Gray Bees lost to two other FAB 50 powers -- No. 3 St. Anthony 51-50 and No. 14 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) 64-49. St. Benedict's did defeat East Region No. 12 Plainfield (Plainfield, N.J.) 67-65.

5. Ely, ranked No. 16 in the FAB 50, might not drop as much with a loss to St. Benedict's since it owns a win over No. 21 Salesian (Richmond, Calif.).

6. Another team that probably would not drop far with an NHSI loss is FAB 50 No. 12 Montverde, which owns five victories over FAB 50-ranked teams. The Florida private school defeated No. 38 Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.) twice plus single wins over No. 16 Ely, No. 21 Salesian and No. 29 Lake Wales (Lake Wales, Fla.).

7. Of course, the FAB 50 could have some major reshuffling if unranked Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.) or Coolidge win at the NHSI. Both are ranked No. 19 in their own regions -- Ravenscroft in the Southeast and Coolidge in the East, but not in the national listings. They’d be pulling off major upsets if they win on Thursday since Coolidge is facing No. 2 Findlay Prep while Ravenscroft is taking on No. 9 Montrose Christian.

FAB 50 Spotlight Player of the Week
Aaron Gordon, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)


It might be safe to say that the 6-foot-8 junior point forward is the best player from Northern California since Jason Kidd went to St. Joseph of Alameda in the early 1990s.

Gordon put on a show in the CIF Division II state championship last Friday at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento. In leading the FAB 50 No. 35 Monarchs past La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) 78-57, Gordon poured in 33 points (one of the top 10 best ever in a CIF state final) and grabbed 20 rebounds. He fell one rebound short of the Division II title game record that he himself set with 21 last year when Mitty won its first CIF state crown.

Gordon is the younger brother of University of New Mexico standout Drew Gordon and averaged nearly 24 points per game for the season.

Doors to FAB 50 for the season probably closed

Unless there are major upsets at the NHSI, which would be either No. 2 Findlay Prep or No. 9 Montrose Christian losing in their first games, all 50 teams for this year’s final rankings of the FAB 50 seem settled.

Longtime football powerhouse John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La.) assured itself of its first final national basketball ranking when Boys & Girls (Brooklyn, N.Y.) won the New York Federation title game Sunday over previous No. 48 Mount Vernon. The Patriots happen to own a win over Boys & Girls and also beat Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.) twice, including once in the Class 2A state final.

Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) grabbed the No. 49 slot this week. Despite nine losses, the Wolverines won their fourth straight Class AAAAA state crown. They played a brutal national schedule and possibly could be even higher in the FAB 50, but one loss was to Riverside Academy and that puts John Curtis Christian higher.

Getting a New York team into the 50th spot also is always a good thing. Boys & Girls ended up with wins over every one of the four New York teams that beat the Kangaroos during the season -- 3-1 vs. Lincoln, 2-2 vs. Thomas Jefferson, 1-1 vs. St. Raymond’s and 1-1 vs. South Shore.


NHSI individual & team records

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
6:56
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2012 boys' bracket | 2011 boys' bracket | 2010 boys' bracket | 2009 boys' bracket

Most Points (Game)
37 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park vs. Christ School, 2010 quarterfinals
32 -- Cory Joseph, Findlay Prep vs. Mountain State, 2010 semifinals
31 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park vs. Boys & Girls, 2011 quarterfinals
30 -- Jacoby Brissett, Dwyer vs. Findlay Prep, 2010 quarterfinals
29 -- Terrell Vinson, Montrose Christian vs. St. Benedict's Prep, 2009 quarterfinals
29 -- Quinn Cook, Oak Hill Academy vs. Dwyer, 2011 semifinals

Most Field Goals Made (Game)
15 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park vs. Christ School, 2010 quarterfinals (15x26)
12 -- Terrell Vinson, Montrose Christian vs. St. Benedict's Prep, 2009 quarterfinals (12x20)
11 -- Doron Lamb, Oak Hill Academy vs. Pinewood Prep, 2009 quarterfinals (11x14)
11 -- Jacoby Brissett, Dwyer vs. Findlay Prep, 2010 quarterfinals (11x16)

Most Field Goal Attempts (Game)
26 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park vs. Christ School, 2010 quarterfinals (15x26)

Most Free Throws Made (Game)
12 -- Nick Johnson, Findlay Prep vs. Dwyer, 2011 quarterfinals (12x17)
11 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park vs. Boys & Girls, 2011 quarterfinals (11x14)
11 -- Quinn Cook, Oak Hill Academy vs. Dwyer, 2011 semifinals (11x12)
11 -- Tyrone Johnson, Montrose Christian vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2011 championship (11x11)

Most Free Throw Attempts (Game)
17 -- Nick Johnson, Findlay Prep vs. Dwyer, 2011 quarterfinals (12x17)
14 -- Mouphtaou Yarou, Montrose Christian vs. Findlay Prep, 2009 semifinals (6x14)
14 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park vs. Boys & Girls, 2011 quarterfinals (11x14)
13 -- Tristan Thompson, Findlay Prep vs. Montverde Academy, 2010 championship (5x13)

Most Free Throws Without a Miss (Game)
11 -- Tyrone Johnson, Montrose Christian vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2011 championship (11x11)
8 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park vs. Montverde Academy, 2010 semifinals (8x8)

Highest Free Throw Shooting Percentage (Tournament)
.947 -- Tyrone Johnson, Montrose Christian, 2011 (18x19)

Most 3-point Field Goals Made (Game)
6 -- Noah Cottrill, Mountain State Academy vs. Findlay Prep, 2009 quarterfinals (6x12)
5 -- Ronald Scott, John Carroll vs. Montrose Christian, 2011 quarterfinals (5x8)
5 -- Quinn Cook, Oak Hill Academy vs. United Faith Christian Academy, 2011 quarterfinals (5x9)
4 -- Ryan Bogdan, Pinewood Prep vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2009 quarterfinals (4x5)
4 -- Tamir Jackson, St. Benedict's Prep vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2009 semifinals (4x9)
4 -- Pe'Shon Howard, Oak Hill Academy vs. Findlay Prep, 2009 championship
4 -- Jamail Jones, Montverde Academy vs. Montrose Christian, 2010 quarterfinals (4x8)
4 -- Tyler Hubbard, Montrose Christian vs. John Carroll, 2011 quarterfinals (4x5)
4 -- Tyler Hubbard, Montrose Christian vs. Boys & Girls, 2011 semifinals (4x7)
4 -- Victor Adams, Dwyer vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2011 semifinals (4x7)
4 -- Keith Hornsby, Oak Hill Academy vs. Dwyer, 2011 semifinals (4x6)

Most 3-point Field Goal Attempts (Game)
13 -- Quinn Cook, Oak Hill Academy vs. Montrose Christian, 2011 championship (3x13)
13 -- Michael Taylor, Boys & Girls vs. Montrose Christian, 2011 semifinals (3x13)
12 -- Noah Cottrill, Mountain State Academy vs. Findlay Prep, 2009 quarterfinals (6x12)
11 -- Pe'Shon Howard, Oak Hill Academy vs. Mountain State Academy, 2010 quarterfinal (2x11)

Most Points (Career)
100 -- Corey Joseph, Findlay Prep, 2009-10 (6 games)
91 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park, 2010-11 (3 games)

Highest Scoring Average (Tournament)
(minimum two games)
31.5 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park, 2010 (63 points/2 games)
27.0 -- Quinn Cook, Oak Hill Academy, 2011 (81 points/3 games)
23.0 -- Jacoby Brissett, Dwyer, 2011 (46 points/2 games)
21.7 -- Jamail Jones, Montverde Academy, 2010 (65 points/3 games)
20.7 -- Avery Bradley, Findlay Prep, 2009 (62 points/3 games)

Highest Scoring Average (Career)
(minimum two games)
31.3 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park, 2010-11 (94 points/3 games)

Most Rebounds (Game)
17 -- Michael Carrera, Montrose Christian vs. Boys & Girls, 2011 semifinals
15 -- Keith "Tiny" Gallon, Oak Hill Academy vs. Findlay Prep, 2009 championship
14 -- Keith "Tiny" Gallon, Oak Hill Academy vs. St. Benedict's Prep, 2009 semifinals
13 -- A.J. Hammonds, Oak Hill Academy vs. Dwyer, 2011 semifinals
13 -- Michael Carrera, Montrose Christian vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2011 championship

Most Rebounds (Career)
57 -- Tristan Thompson, Findlay Prep, 2009-10 (6 games)

Highest Rebounding Average (Tournament)
12.7 -- Michael Carrera, Montrose Christian, 2011 (38 rebounds/3 games)
11.0 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park, 2010 (22 rebounds/2 games)
10.7 -- Keith "Tiny" Gallon, Oak Hill Academy, 2009 (32 rebounds/3games)

Highest Rebounding Average (Career)
10.3 -- Austin Rivers, Winter Park, 2010-11 (31 rebounds/3 games)
9.5 -- Tristan Thompson, Findlay Prep, 2009-10 (57 rebounds/6 games)

Most Assists (Game)
9 -- Pe'Shon Howard, Oak Hill Academy vs. Mountain State Academy, 2010 quarterfinal

Most Steals (Game)
8 -- Kenny Manigault, Pinewood Prep vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2009 quarterfinals
6 -- Malik Nichols, Boys & Girls vs. Winter Park, 2011 quarterfinals
5 -- Nick Johnson, Findlay Prep vs. Mountain State, 2010 semifinals
5 -- Quinn Cook, Oak Hill Academy vs. Montrose Christian, 2011 championship

Most Blocked Shots (Game)
5 -- Adam Jones, Winter Park vs. Christ School, 2010 quarterfinals
4 -- Isaiah Armwood, Montrose Christian vs. Findlay Prep, 2009 semifinals
4 -- David Nyarsuk, Mountain State Academy vs. Findlay Prep, 2010 semifinals

All-Time Team Records
Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 6-1 (.857)
Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) 4-2 (.667)
Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 2-1 (.667)
Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 4-3 (.571)
Boys & Girls (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 1-1 (.500)
Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) 1-1 (.500)
St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.) 1-1 (.500)
Mountain State Academy (Beckley, W.Va.) 1-2 (.333)
Winter Park (Winter Park, Fla.) 1-2 (.333)
Charlotte Christian (Charlotte, N.C.) 0-1 (.000)
Christ School (Arden, N.C.) 0-1 (.000)
Friends' Central (Wynnewood, Pa.) 0-1 (.000)
John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.) 0-1 (.000)
Pinewood Prep (Summerville, S.C.) 0-1 (.000)
St. Francis (Baltimore, Md.) 0-1 (.000)
United Faith Christian Academy (Charlotte, N.C.) 0-1 (.000)

NHSI GIRLS INDIVIDUAL & TEAM RECORDS

Most Points (Game)
25 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy vs. Peddie School, 2010 championship
23 -- Kianna Conner, Dillard vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2010 semifinals
22 -- Ashley Gomez, Murry Bergtraum vs. Hollywood Christian, 2011 semifinals

Most Field Goals Made (Game)
10 -- Cori Coleman, Dr. Phillips vs. Murry Bergtraum, 2011 championship (10x20)

Most Field Goal Attempts (Game)
20 -- Morgan Jones, Lake Mary vs. Peddie School, 2010 semifinals (3x20)
20 -- Cori Coleman, Dr. Phillips vs. Murry Bergtraum, 2011 championship (10x20)

Most Free Throws Made (Game)
9 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy vs. Peddie School, 2010 championship (9x9)

Most Free Throw Attempts (Game)
12 -- Tierra Hawkins, Riverdale Baptist vs. St. Francis, 2009 semifinals
9 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy vs. Peddie School, 2010 championship (9x9)
9 -- Hannah Schaible, Dr. Phillips vs. Riverdale Baptist, 2011 semifinals (8x9)

Most Free Throws Made Without a Miss (Game)
9 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy vs. Peddie School, 2010 championship (9x9)

Highest Free Throw Shooting Percentage (Tournament)
1.000 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy, 2010 (11x11)

Most 3-point Field Goals Made (Game)
6 -- Kianna Conner, Dillard vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2010 semifinals (6x11)

Most 3-point Field Goal Attempts (Game)
11 -- Kianna Conner, Dillard vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2010 semifinals (6x11)

Highest Scoring Average (Tournament)
21.5 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy, 2010 (43 points/2 games)
17.5 -- Hannah Schaible, Dr. Phillips, 2011 (35 points/2 games)

Most Rebounds (Game)
16 -- Tianna Hawkins, Riverdale Baptist vs. Seton Keough, 2009 championship
13 -- Shenaqua Reese, Murry Bergtraum vs. Hollywood Christian, 2011 semifinals

Highest Rebounding Average (Tournament)
12.5 -- Tianna Hawkins, Riverdale Baptist vs. Seton Keough, 2009 (25 rebounds/2 games)

Most Assists (Game)
11 -- Dawnn Maye, Dillard vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2010 semifinals

Most Steals (Game)
7 -- Rahneeka Saunders, Riverdale Baptist vs. St. Francis, 2009 semifinals
7 -- Alex Rodgers, Oak Hill Academy vs. Dillard, 2010 semifinals
5 -- Liz Brown, Seton Keough vs. Riverdale Baptist, 2009 championship
5 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy vs. Peddie School, 2010 championship
5 -- Alex Smith, Peddie School vs. Oak Hill Academy, 2010 championship

Most Blocked Shots (Game)
7 -- Ariel Johnson, Oak Hill Academy vs. Peddie School, 2010 championship
6 -- Tianna Hawkins, Riverdale Baptist vs. St. Francis, 2009 semifinals

All-Time Team Records
Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) 2-0 (1.000)
Peddie School (Highstown, N.J.) 2-0 (1.000)
Seton Keough (Baltimore, Md.) 2-0 (1.000)
Murry Bergtraum (New York) 1-1 (.500)
Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 1-2 (.333)
Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 1-2 (.333)
Dillard (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) 0-1 (.000)
Holllywood Christian (Hollywood, Fla.) 0-1 (.000)
Lake Mary (Lake Mary, Fla.) 0-1 (.000)
St. Francis (Baltimore, Md.) 0-1 (.000)

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN

NHSI preview: Montverde Academy

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
12:00
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Team: No. 3 seed Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
Record, FAB 50 Rank: 21-3, No. 12 (No. 2 in the Southeast)
Head Coach: Kevin Boyle (1st year at school; spent previous 23 years at St. Patrick of Elizabeth, N.J., where he won more than 400 games and coached many top players, including 2011 NBA No. 1 draft pick Kyrie Irving)

Key Players:

Michael Frazier
A transfer from Plant (Tampa, Fla.), the 6-foot-3 shooting guard leads the team in scoring and is a leading contender to be Mr. Basketball in Florida. An ESPNHS Second Team Underclass All-American last season, Frazier is rated the No. 3 prospect in the state of Florida by RecruitingNation and has signed with the University of Florida. Frazier was MVP of the Montverde Academy Invitational Tournament in January. He scored 16 points in the team’s 49-40 triumph over POWERADE FAB 50 ranked Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.) in the title game. In the team's loss to Memphis Ridgeway (Memphis, Tenn.), Frazier went for 27 points, so they'll look to him for a big scoring night against a tough La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.) team.

Kasey Hill
He’s regarded as one of the elite point guards in the nation among juniors. The 6-foot-1 floor general is No. 18 in the ESPNU 60 and has committed to Florida, where he figures to join current teammate Michael Frazier on the roster for the Gators’ 2013-14 season. Hill was MVP last summer at the Adidas Invitational Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis after he led the Florida Rams AAU squad to the championship. Hill began his prep career at Mount Dora Bible (Eustis, Fla.) and was a highly-regarded by Kevin Sutton, Montverde Academy's former coach. Hill had been a ESPNHS Underclass All-American the past two seasons.

Anthony “J.P.” Cortesia
The No. 64 player in the ESPNU 100 was one of the Eagles’ most versatile talents from the first game of the season through the Montverde Academy tourney. The 6-foot-8 power forward will play next at Ole Miss. A native of Venezuela, Cortesia is not known for being a physical player, but with La Lumiere's towering size, he's going to have to battle down low and come up with key rebounds.

Note: Six-foot-10 sophomore Dakari Johnson, who followed coach Kevin Boyle to Montverde from St. Patrick of New Jersey and was the 2011 ESPNHS National Freshman of the Year, had to sit out this season due to the transfer.

Road to NHSI:

There’s little doubt the Eagles were the best team in Florida this season, regardless of school classification. They played a number of top teams in the state and when the Florida High School Athletic Association state playoffs were complete, Montverde had wins over the following champions: Hialeah Gardens (8A), Ely (7A), Lake Wales (5A) and Orlando Christian Prep (2A).

They did lose an in-state game to Hagerty of Oviedo, but were not at full strength at the time. The squad’s only other losses were to Ridgeway of Memphis and Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas). Both of those teams were top 15 ranked in the FAB 50 at the time and Grace Prep went on to win a state title of its own.

Even with those two losses, Montverde Academy had an 8-2 record against FAB 50-ranked teams and in its 24 games they outscored the competition by an average of 16.3 points.

Inside Scoop:

Boyle may not have coached in the NHSI before but has been around big-time basketball for many years. At St. Patrick, he coached Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and 2010-2011 Mr. Basketball USA Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, currently starring at Kentucky. Boyle also will be coaching the USA team on April 7 at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Ore.

Perhaps Boyle’s biggest challenge is getting players ready to face a quality first-round opponent in the NHSI like La Lumiere without having been in a game since Feb. 4.

NHSI preview: Ely

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
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Team: No. 5 seed Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.)
Record, FAB 50 Rank: 30-2, No. 16 (No. 3 in the Southeast)
Head Coach: Melvin Randall (11th year at school, 429-133 career record including eight previous seasons at Deerfield Beach)

Key Players:

Clide Geffrard
A 6-foot-6 senior forward, Geffrard came on strong toward the end of the season. He pumped in 33 points and hauled down 14 rebounds in the Class 7A state championship game win over Oak Ridge (Orlando). He also had 22 points and nine rebounds in the semifinals as Ely stormed through the state final four bracket. For the season, Geffrard averaged 17.4 points per game and shot 63 percent from the field. He also averaged 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. The unsigned senior could be the best player at Ely since current Florida Gator standout Kenny Boynton, who led the Tigers to a state title in 2007. “We’ve had a good ride with Clide,” Randall said. “He has been very consistent and one of the leaders we’ve depended on. Not a verbal leader-type but leads by example. He’s extremely competitive."

Josephus Bell
Bell was solid at the end of the season just as Geffrard was, but his most eye-opening outings took place earlier in the season. The 6-foot-2 senior guard lit it up for 26 points when Ely beat FAB 50-ranked Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) at the City of Palms tournament and had 22 the same week in a win against Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.). The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 13.1 points and three assists per game for the season. He's capable of big scoring outputs, but if he doesn't hit his average, Ely could struggle against the talented backcourt of St. Benedict's.

Krishaun Myers
Highlighting a third player for the Tigers is tough because so many players (including Anterrio Smith and Kahlil Thomas) are capable of stepping up and getting into double figures. Myers was third on the team in scoring, however, at 8.7 points per game. The 6-foot-2 senior guard’s best performances included 23 points against Constitution (Philadelphia, Pa.) and 27 points against Dillard (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). He also plays good defense (1.8 spg), and that will be key since both Ely and St. Benedict's rely on their backcourt to score. “There was any of five or six guys who could have scored 20 points per night at other schools,” Randall said. “Thomas, Myers and Smith were just outstanding and all have their roles. We call Smith ‘Locksmith’ because he’s very aggressive on defense. Tough to get around.”

Road to NHSI:
Ely hopes to make a similar run in the NHSI as Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) did last year and comes from a similar pedigree. Guided by a veteran coach and coming off of an FHSAA state title, the Tigers have lost only to teams that are higher-ranked in the POWERADE FAB 50 than they are – Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) and fellow NHSI participant Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.). While the loss to Gorman was by just one point (58-57), the loss to Montverde was more lopsided (67-53). “We can’t go into the NHSI and go off of what other teams from Florida may have done,” Randall said. “It’s exciting to know that Dwyer won its first game last year, but we’re going there to play our attacking style and see what happens.”

Rolling to the Class 7A state title was impressive, but more important to the team snagging the FHSAA’s guaranteed berth into the NHSI were wins over Salesian and Gill St. Bernard’s. Salesian and Gill St. Bernard’s have been nationally ranked, with Salesian in the top 20 as of March 20. Both losses and both big wins took place at the City of Palms tournament in Florida.

With Dwyer's impressive showing at last year's tournament, Ely won't sneak up on a hungry St. Benedict's team that truly feels it is the second-best team in the field. “It helps a great deal (coming into the NHSI) that we know we’ve already played some of the top teams in the country and have fared well,” Randall said. “With the Bishop Gorman game, we had a chance to win at the end and missed a layup.”

Inside Scoop:

Randall and the rest of the team thought there was a good chance that Ely was going to be chosen for the NHSI. “The kids are real excited and know that this is an out-of-state tourney,” he said. “But it’s not a field trip.”

The Tigers have already played a strong New Jersey team – Gill St. Bernard’s – but they assume that the St. Benedict’s team they are playing in the first-round of the NHSI is going to be harder to beat.

“We know they have a lot of great players,” Randall said. “Our preparation is that we are going to have to defend. It’s a well-rounded team and we hope we can slow them down.”

NHSI preview: Ravenscroft

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
12:00
PM ET
Team: No. 7 seed Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.)
Record, FAB 50 Rank: 31-3, NR (No. 19 in the Southeast)
Head Coach: Kevin Billerman (12th year at school, 279-70 career record

Key Players:

Madison Jones
Jones initiates the Ravens’ offense and brings a gritty, tough element that becomes infectious as the game progresses. Jones averages 16.5 points, 6.5 assists and 3.4 steals per game and serves as the team’s vocal leader on the floor. “He’s a true point guard and he just controls our team in all areas,” Billerman said. “He’s a great leader.”

Anton Gill
Gill is a freak of an athlete and, at 6-foot-4, will have one of the best high-wire acts at the NHSI. Gill, a Louisville commit, averages 18.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. When the Ravens are in need of a bucket to break a scoring drought, Gill is the player whose number Billerman typically calls.

Marcus Bryan
Bryan, a 6-foot-8 center, is the Ravens’ low post presence and averages 14.3 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. Bryan is versatile enough to step out and consistently knock down the 17-footer, making him a tough draw for most opposing big men.

Road to NHSI:

Ravenscroft knocked off North Carolina powerhouse Christ School (Arden, N.C.) twice in convincing fashion and also won the High School OT Holiday Invitational in December. In that tournament the Ravens knocked off Wesleyan Christian (High Point, N.C.) and United Faith (Charlotte, N.C.). Ravenscroft also knocked off Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.) to claim the state title.

“We beat all of the top private school teams in our state,” Billerman said. “The guys really stepped up and met every challenge.”

Inside Scoop:

The Ravens lockup defensively and are almost always hounding the opposition with a suffocating man-to-man set. Offensively, the Ravens remain in attack mode at all times whether it’s pushing the ball up the court in transition or running one of the 16 plays in the halfcourt set.

“With Anton and Madison scoring a lot of points, obviously, we shoot a lot of jump shots,” Billerman said. “Both of them are very smart players and they pick their spots well.”

The Ravens average 71 points per game.

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

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