Oak Hill Academy and Montverde Academy advance to the Dick’s Nationals championship game on Saturday at Madison Square Madison (12 pm ET, ESPN) with come-from-behind semifinal victories. Huntington Prep gave defending champ Montverde Academy all it could handle and Findlay Prep couldn’t overcome Oak Hill’s length and depth with seven players.
Related: | Montverde Academy Wins Dick’s Nationals | Quarterfinal Analysis | Dick’s Nationals Team & Individual Records | No. 1 Seed Montverde Academy | No. 2 Seed Rainier Beach | No. 3 Seed Northside Christian Academy | No. 4 Huntington-St. Joseph Prep | No. 6 Seed Oak Hill Academy | No. 7 Seed Findlay Prep | No. 8 Seed The Sagemont School | Dick’s Nationals Field Set
No. 6 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 64, No. 14 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 56
It was a tale of two halves and for Oak Hill Academy the second half was a charm, as it employed a full court press to create 21 turnovers and outscore the Pilots 44-26 to advance to the tournament final for the third time in the event’s six-year history. Oak Hill lost in the championship of the event’s first year in 2009 and again in 2011.
Oak Hill Academy (41-3) missed its last eight shots of the second quarter and trailed 30-20 at halftime. In the first half, Oak Hill was unable to apply much pressure because it wasn’t shooting well enough and had no answer for McDonald’s All-American Kelly Oubre Jr. At one point, Findlay Prep (31-5) led 28-20 and Oubre Jr. had 19 of the Pilots’ points. Oubre Jr. finished the game with a team-high 23 points and 11 rebounds.
With injuries to starting point guard Derryck Thornton Jr. and junior forward Horace Spencer, Findlay Prep only had seven players available and Oak Hill’s depth and length eventually wore down a team without a true point guard. Findlay Prep’s Rashad Vaughn (8 points, 0-of-6 3-point) and Dillon Brooks (7 points) fouled out in the final quarter.
Oak Hill went on a 16-3 run to end the third quarter, taking the lead (40-39) on a put back by Cody Martin to beat the quarter clock. With 6:20 remaining in the third period, the Pilots had a 14-point lead, but couldn’t hold off the Warriors’ wave of pressure.
Martin led Oak Hill with 22 points, while twin brother Caleb finished with 13 points. Shelton Mitchell, who missed a majority of the season for Oak Hill with injury, did not make a field goal but canned 13-of-14 free throws.
Oak Hill made 17-of-22 free throws while Findlay Prep made 11-of-16. Findlay Prep had 21 total turnovers, while Oak Hill had nine.
No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 56, Huntington St. Joseph Prep 51 (Huntington, W. Va.) 51
The Irish gave the defending event champion and nation’s No. 1 ranked team all it could handle in a physical game, but the play of Montverde’s two All-Americans down the stretch led the Eagles to their third consecutive title game. Montverde will take on Oak Hill Academy on Saturday at 12 pm ET / 9 am PT (ESPN) at Madison Square Garden.
In 2012, the Eagles blew a late double-digit lead and lost to Findlay Prep and in 2013 won the title over St. Benedict’s in overtime on a late 3-pointer by guard Jalyn Patterson. Patterson isn’t part of the team for the Dick’s Nationals and the team lost sixth man Ahmaad Rorie earlier in the season, but Montverde Academy (26-1*) has figured out how to use its pieces around junior Ben Simmons and McDonald’s All-American D’Angelo Russell.
Huntington Prep (28-5) took a 21-18 halftime lead on a 3-pointer by Jalen Lindsey with two seconds to go in the second quarter. Simmons picked up his fourth foul with the game tied (32-32) with 1:30 to go in the third period and Huntington Prep took a 43-42 lead with 4:23 to go when Lindsey hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game.
The Irish were in excellent position to pull off the upset leading 47-44 before Simmons offensive rebound put back dunk gave Montverde a 48-47 lead with 1:28 to go that it wouldn’t relinquish. He capped off a key 6-0 run with a right-handed lay-up off a curl to give Montverde a 50-47 lead with 52.3 seconds to go.
With the game on the line, Russell made six straight free throws in the final 52 seconds after starting the game 1-for-3 at the charity stripe. Even with his clutch shooting, Huntington Prep still had an opportunity to tie the game with just under 10 seconds remaining but had an untimely turnover.
Russell finished 7-of-9 from the free throw line and with a game-high 17 points. Simmons added 12 points and eight rebounds. Justin Bibbs was Montverde Academy’s third double-digit scorer 13 points and hit the Eagles’ only three 3-pointers.
Lindsey was Huntington Prep’s only double digit scorer with 14 points. Jaquan Lyle had eight points and Josh Perkins also had eight points and hit the Irish’s only other two 3-pointers of the game.
Huntington made 6-of-21 3-pointers and Montverde made 3-of-20. The Irish out rebounded Montverde 37-34 but had six more turnovers than the club that advanced to the title game.