published: Friday, January 25, 2013
Montverde Academy will have great competition at MAIT
FRANK JOLLEY | Staff Writer
Despite suffering back-to-back losses, the Montverde Academy boys basketball team still figures to be the team to beat in the 10th annual Montverde Academy Invitational Tournament.
The three-day tournament, which began Thursday at the school's new Center for Sportsmanship and Wellness, features seven other teams looking to knock off the Eagles on a national stage.
With 19-2 record at the start of the MAIT, coach Kevin Boyle got the Eagles off to an 18-0 start and a No. 1 ranking in ESPN's high-school poll before nationally televised losses against Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI and Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep Monday at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.
Led by University of Florida commit Kasey Hill, Kentucky commit Dakari Johnson and Devin Williams, who is committed to West Virginia, the Eagles are looking for their fifth MAIT title.
Among those in the field set to square off against Montverde Academy include last year's second-place team, Orlando Christian Prep, and LaPorte (Ind.) La Lumiere, which lost to Montverde Academy in the quarterfinals of the 2012 ESPN National High School Invitational in Bethesda, Md.
Montverde held off Orlando Christian Prep last year in the last MAIT contest ever played in front of an overflow crowd in venerable Roberts Gymnasium.
Other schools include Oldsmar Christian, Orlando Edgewater, Snellville (Ga.) Shiloh, Inglewood (Calif.), and Baltimore St. Frances Academy.
Orlando Christian Prep rebounded from the loss and went on to win the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 2A state championship.
MAIT games today are scheduled for 3 p.m., 4:40 p.m., 6:20 p.m. and 8 p.m. On Saturday, game times are 2:30 p.m., 4:10 p.m.,
5:50 p.m., with the championship game to played at 7:30 p.m.
Montverde Academy opened defense of its title on Thursday against Orlando Edgewater. Games today will be determined by the outcomes of Thursday's games and Saturday's matchups will be decided based on today's results.
Against the highly touted tournament field, Montverde Academy will be looking to stop its two-game slide -- a first for the Eagles since Boyle took over the program prior to the 2011-12 season.
On Monday, against Findlay Prep, the Eagles held an 11-point lead midway through the fourth quarter when Hill fouled out. From that point on, Montverde Academy struggled to maintain its rhythm on both ends of the floor.
Findlay Prep found its groove and chipped away at the Eagles' advantage until it tied the game with less than a minute to play.
With two seconds to play, Nigel Williams-Goss drilled a three pointer to give the Pilots their second straight come-from-behind victory against Montverde Academy.
The last time the two teams met, Findlay Prep edged the Eagles 86-83 in overtime in the championship game of the 2012 ESPN National High School Invitational.
Williams-Goss scored 18 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter.
Johnson led the Eagles with 17 points, followed by Williams with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
Saturday, against Paul VI, the Eagles fell behind early, but battled back and took a 48-43 lead into the fourth quarter. Paul VI responded with a furious comeback and forced overtime. In the extra period, Paul VI prevailed 69-67 in front of a capacity crowd of more than 8,700 fans.
Tickets are $10 per day and can be purchased at the gym.
Up-to-date tournament brackets will be displayed in the Center for Sportsmanship and Wellness.
The $6 million building seats 1,500 for basketball. It also houses practice courts for the basketball team, volleyball courts, locker rooms and a weight room.
For information about the MAIT, email tournament directors jon hopman and mike foley at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.