On Saturday, March 31, the Montverde Academy boys’ varsity team defeated University School (Florida) 76-58 to win the GEICO National High School Invitational (NHSI), an event created by Paragon Marketing Group to provide a platform for top nationally ranked high school basketball teams to compete against one another in a season ending tournament. This win was MVA’s fourth national title and a historic 35-0 perfect season, which has never been accomplished at the Academy.
In the quarterfinal round of the tournament, Montverde Academy Eagles went up against Lone Peak (Utah) to dominate in the first half earning a double-digit lead going into the third quarter. However, a second-half surge from Lone Peak tied the game with under a minute to go. A timeout was called at 18 seconds left in regulation with no timeouts remaining, an unfortunate mistake by Lone Peak, gave a two-shot technical and change of possession that handed the game to Montverde Academy for a final score of 87-82.
The semi-final round pitted MVA Eagles against rival Findlay Prep (Nevada). The last time these two teams met, the game ended in MVA’s favor with a buzzer-beating 3-point shot by player, Mike Devoe, for a 69-67 win. In this rematch, the Eagles never let up and never let them get close, holding the lead for the entire game for a final of 71-53.
On Saturday, the Montverde Academy Eagles team took the court with a laser focus and determination to win etched on their faces. R.J. Barret, MVA senior, Duke-signee, the nation’s No. 1 player in the country, and recipient of four National Player of the Year awards, put 25 points on the board with 15 rebounds in this game, for a grand total of 80 points for the tournament. Georgia Tech-signee Mike Devoe made five 3-pointers en route to 21 points, Gonzaga-bound Filip Petrusev added 15 points and Florida pledge Andrew Nembhard had eight points, but 13 assists as the Hawks turned around a defeat in last year's title game.
“Congratulations to the Montverde Academy basketball team and the coaches for their tremendous success this season!” said Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring, headmaster, Montverde Academy. “These student athletes do a remarkable job of balancing rigorous academics with a demanding training regimen and game schedule. Kevin Boyle and his entire team are compelled to provide the best program possible for basketball and this success illustrates that goal. The entire MVA community
celebrates this record-making season with the team and coaches!”
"This team worked extremely hard to achieve this outstanding season we have had - going undefeated for 35 games it’s an amazing accomplishment and a testament to the dedication of our whole team," said Kevin Boyle, head Coach for Montverde Academy. "We play to win every time we take the court. This is only possible through the support and dedication of the athletes, our coaching team and support staff, and our Montverde Academy family."
"This is what we have been training for since the first day of practice," said Rae Miller, head associate coach for Montverde Academy. "All the 4:00 a.m. practices and the countless hours in the gym have earned this success. The whole team has is thrilled and happy to see that their commitment paid off."
It has been a remarkable year the Montverde Academy basketball team. For Barrett, it began in the summer of 2017, when Barrett led Canada to its first ever gold medal in a FIBA event held in Egypt. He led the under-19 team to a win in the international tournament and earned the MVP award for his efforts. He returned to Montverde Academy for what became his senior season when he reclassified into the Class of 2018, was named the top prospect of his new class, committed to Duke, and led his school to an undefeated, championship season.
Barrett has earned a number of awards this year. He became the All-Time Leading Scorer in GEICO National High School Invitational tournament history averaging more than 25 points; he also earned the 2018 Morgan Wootten Player of the Year, 2018 Naismith High School Player of the Year, and 2018 Gatorade Player of the Year, and was chosen for the 2018 McDonald’s All-American Game. He and Andrew Nembhard were both chosen to compete in the Jordan Brand Classic. Coach Kevin Boyle also earned a 2018 Naismith High School Coach of the Year award, making him a two-time winner, but the only coach to accomplish this at two different high schools.
"R.J. is a winner,” said Coach Boyle. “He won the gold medal with Canada and he has been an integral part of our team, leading us to an undefeated season. He's just fabulous, one of the hardest working student athletes I have ever coached. He just has a knack for winning."