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Tuesday / February 28.
  • Montverde Dominates Oak Ridge in ESPN Showcase

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    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    MONTVERDE, Fla.- The top-ranked team in the nation, Montverde Academy, dominated Oak Ridge (Fla.), 93-57, behind Ben Simmons’ 20 points and 10 rebounds, in front of a sold out crowd that included Chicago Bears running back Michael Bush in Montverde’s first ESPN televised game in their new gym.

    Montverde’s Head Coach Kevin Boyle was very happy with his team’s performance.

    “I thought we played outstanding,” Boyle told after the game. “We started out a bit slow in the first couple minutes, feeling the hype of the game. I thought our press was fantastic. If you don’t have three really good ball handlers its tough to play against us, because we have great length and quickness, as well as bigs that can guard the smaller guards. Eventually if you don’t have enough ball handlers, we can get you for a 12 to 14 point burst and blow the game open.”

    That’s exactly what happened, too.

    Oak Ridge led early 7-6, when Montverde went on a run. Xavier bound Makinde London drilled two 3-pointers in a row which were followed by multiple dunks by Southern Illinois signee Jordan Caroline, Harvard signee Chris Egi and LSU commit Simmons. By halftime, Montverde was running away with the game, leading 47-21.

    “It felt great to play on ESPN today,” Ohio State signee D’Angelo Russell said. “A lot of people aren’t used to it, I’m not used to it. Playing against another player from Each 1 Teach 1 today with Antonio was good too. When Tonio gets the ball, you have to be ready.”

    Antonio Blakeney, a guard for Oak Ridge who recently received an offer from North Carolina, led Oak Ridge with 25 points, said that the home crowd that was decked out in red and very rowdy, made things very tough for him early.

    “You could barely hear anything out there,” Blakeney said. “I went out really slow and passive today, but picked it up in the second half. It was a great experience though, I wish I could do it again and again and again.”

    Montverde improves to 15-0, heading into the Bass Pro Championships in Springfield, Missouri, and the Hoop Hall Classic at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

    When asked if the showdown with Oak Ridge was the team’s most complete performance, Boyle said that it was one of them.

    “We played very well against Providence, too,” Boyle said. “But it was definitely one of them.”

    That could be a bad sign for everyone else.

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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 whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. 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.