Montverde Academy will be hanging a fourth national championship banner in its gymnasium.
The Eagles canned 11 3-pointers — eight in the second half — to run away from Davie University School, 76-58, in an all-Florida final Saturday at the 2018 GEICO High School Basketball Nationals at Christ the King Regional High.
Montverde (35-0) earned its record fourth GEICO Nationals title in the 10-year history of the event. Class 5A state champion University School, which came into the tournament ranked as high as No. 2 by USA Today, finishes 33-2.
National Player of the Year R.J. Barrett led Montverde with 25 points and 15 rebounds. Barrett, a Duke signee, was named the MVP of the tournament.
Georgia Tech signee Michael Devoe drilled five 3-pointers and finished with 21 points, Filip Petrusev (Gonzaga) added 15 points and former University School 7-foot-1 center Balsa Koprivica had 9 rebounds. Montverde shot 31 of 61 from the field, including 11 of 24 from 3-point range.
“This is the cherry on top of everything that has happened during my high school career and it means a lot,” said Barrett, who was 11 of 23 from the floor.
Montverde coach Kevin Boyle praised Koprivica for the job he did on 6-10 junior All-American Vernon Carey Jr.
Carey was held to 5-of-16 shooting and 12 points to go along with 10 rebounds. He had but 4 points the entire first half.
“Vernon is going to be a star in the NBA,” Boyle said. “Look at him [Koprivica] cause problems for him with his size and moving his feet. And he’s got a really nice touch. That was the big thing, plus you see when he got it in deep, we doubled him hard and they threw the ball in the back court a couple times.”
Sophomore Scottie Barnes led University School with 24 points and 10 rebounds. The Sharks went 24 of 61 from the field and 4 of 12 from 3-point land.
“We had a great season,” University School coach Adrian Sosa said. “Going from unranked [at the beginning of the season], to City of Palms champions, John Wall [Invitational] champions, winning the state title. The way we won the state title — 75-point margin in two games. And then coming here and knocking off two powerhouse programs [Shadow Mountain and Oak Hill Academy].
“These guys, they left it all on the floor today. They were a better team.”
Montverde’s previous three national titles were from 2013-2015. Joining Barrett on the all-tournament team were Montverde guard Andrew Nembhard, Carey, Barnes and Lone Peak (Utah) guard Steven Ashworth.
University School jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but Montverde finished the first quarter on a 14-4 run to grab a 14-10 advantage. The Eagles built their lead to nine, going up 35-26 at the half. It was the third quarter where Montverde pulled away from the Sharks.
Four different Montverde players connected on 3-pointers in the first 4:17 of the third quarter to grab a 51-37 lead. Karrington Davis’ 3-pointer in the fourth quarter gave the Eagles their biggest lead, 70-44.
Montverde has made the finals of the GEICO Nationals seven of the last nine years.