Montverde Academy will not be playing a rematch of last year’s NHSHI, because of Findlay Prep’s loss to St. Benedict’s Prep yesterday, but they will be in the finals for the second consecutive year. Montverde won a nail-biter against Prime Prep thanks to D’Angelo Russell’s team-leading 20 points and Dakari Johnson’s 11 points and 16 rebounds. Their hounding defense also forced Prime Prep’s star point guard Emmanuel Mudiay into an uncharacteristic 10 turnovers; the turnovers ended up being the difference in the game.
“There was always someone there hitting the ball,” said Mudiay. “They pressured the ball really well. It was tough. When you have 22 turnovers, you’re not gonna win. That’s the bottom line.”
Mudiay actually tied the game on a couple late free throws, but then he fouled Russell on Montverde’s last offensive possession and Russell calmly sank both free throws to give Montverde the lead for good. Mudiay had a chance to win the game on the next play with a 3-point attempt, but Jalyn Patterson stripped the ball and that was it for Prime Prep’s season. Montverde head coach Kevin Boyle called the defense “gutsy”, because Mudiay was attempting a three pointer and if Patterson had fouled Mudiay, then he could have won the game on three free throw attempts.
Mudiay has never ended a high school season on a loss and you could tell that he was quite broken up about it. He is only a junior though and you can bet that you have not heard the last of Prime Prep.
You can view Montverde’s postgame press conference below (apologies for the blurriness) and tune into ESPN at 1 pm EST today to catch the championship game of the National High School Invitational.