Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Kevin Boyle Wins First National Championship as Montverde Storms Back to Stun St. Benedict’s; Johnson Guarantees Kentucky National Championship in 2014
Kevin Boyle finally has his first national championship.
After losing back-to-back national championship games in 2011 and 2012, Boyle led Montverde (FL) Academy to a thrilling 67-65 victory over St. Benedict’s Prep in the ESPN National High School Invitational championship game at Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda, MD.
“It means so much…coming out here and winning a national championship,” Kentucky-bound big man Dakari Johnson, who played for Boyle as a freshman at St. Patrick when they lost the mythical national championship game to Bob Hurley and St. Anthony, said on ESPN after putting up 18 points and eight rebounds in the win.
“And I’m going to win a national championship at Kentucky next year.”
Boyle won five New Jersey Tournament of Champions titles at St. Patrick, but never a national championship there. He left the school following the 2010-11 season to come to Montverde, and Johnson soon followed.
Montverde (24-2) trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half but stormed back to outscore St. Benedict’s, 26- 16 in the fourth period. St. Ben’s (32-2) led 36-22 at the break.
After Syracuse-bound Tyler Ennis put St. Benedict’s up 65-64 with a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left, Florida signee Kasey Hill kicked the ball out to Jalyn Patterson, who won the game with a 3-pointer from the right wing.
It was Patterson’s first field goal of the day, and it won the championship for Montverde, which blew a huge second-half lead to Findlay Prep in last year’s final.
“Us hitting a trey to take a lead and them coming down to hit a three to win it at the buzzer – you couldn’t have scripted it any better,” said St. Benedict’s coach Mark Taylor, who has gone 67-5 in his two years at the school after taking over a 13-12 club. “Unfortunately, we came out on the wrong end today.
“I’m so proud of this team. They did everything we asked of the all year and more. I really felt we were going to win it when Tyler hit his three. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Hill finished with 19 points, six rebounds and five assists.
“He means so much,” Johnson said. “He was cramping up before we got here at McDonald’s, but I was just telling that him we gotta suck it up and win this national championship. And that’s what we did.”
Montverde won despite shooting 9-for-21 from the stripe, while St. Benedict’s went 15-for-24.
Despite a sprained right shoulder suffered on a first-haf collision with super sophomore Ben Simmons, Ennis finished with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists in his final high school game before becoming the starting point guard at Syracuse next season.
Pittsburgh-bound Mike Young scored a team-best 19 points and grabbed 11 boards for St. Benedict’s (31-2). Isaiah Briscoe added 11 points for the Gray Bees.
During this magical season for the Gray Bees, they snapped St. Anthony’s 83-game winning streak earlier this year and Findlay Prep’s 54-game streak in the semifinals.
A putback dunk by Simmons put Montverde up for the first time in the second half, 61-60, before Ennis answered with a floater in the lane for a 62-61 St. Benedict’s lead.
Johnson answered with three-point play to give Montverde the lead back at 64-62.
Then Ennis hit his three before Patterson ensure Boyle his elusive national championship.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.