No. 2-seeded Montverde Academy came into the 2013 National High School Invitational as one of the favorites to win, but they needed a huge three-pointer from Jalyn Patterson with 2.5 seconds left to clinch a national championship over No. 4 St. Benedict’s Prep on Saturday.
The Eagles finished the season with a 25-2 record, capping off their incredible campaign with an undefeated run through this Bethesda, Md. based tournament.
It certainly wasn’t easy for the Florida-based prep school to just waltz out with the trophy, as the Eagles needed to get past a proud Oak Hill Academy in the opening round and beat upstart Prime Prep in the semifinals to even get to the championship.
Once there, Montverde Academy found that its opponents weren’t just going to roll over, especially not a day after St. Benedict’s managed to snap No. 1-seeded Findlay Prep’s 54-game winning streak in the semifinals of this event.
In fact, the Gray Bees jumped out to a huge advantage in the second half, leading by as many as 16 points late in the third quarter. St. Benedict’s even had a chance to win it when Tyler Ennis (playing through a shoulder injury suffered during the contest) nailed a corner three to give his team a lead with mere seconds left on the clock.
However, Patterson’s heroic shot with 2.5 seconds left on the clock proved to be the difference as Montverde held on for a 67-65 win against the Newark, N.J. prep school.
Aside from the three-point sniper, big-time prospects Kasey Hill and Dakari Johnson were the stars of this contest.
Hill, a PG headed to Florida, went on a late surge and wound up scoring 19 points—while also setting up the play that led to the game-winning shot by driving the floor, drawing the defense and kicking it out.
Johnson, the Kentucky-bound center, earned tournament MVP honors for his contributions, although he didn’t get going until late due to foul trouble. The big man chipped in 18 points and eight boards.
This was the game of the year, and both sides certainly fought hard for victory. However, Montverde had the better roster from top to bottom, which made the difference in the end.
Ennis’ shot was almost the difference, but Kasey Hill and Jalyn Patterson were able to foil the underdog’s bid for an upset and now their Eagles are slotted in at No. 1 in the final ESPN 25 Power Rankings of the season.