It took two years and 44 games for Montverde (Fla.) Academy to suffer its first loss, a three-point nail-biter in overtime to Sunrise Christian (Bel Aire, Kan.) in February.
In March they avenged that loss to the Buffaloes and on Saturday they added an exclamation point, knocking off Sunrise Christian 62-52 to win the GEICO High School Nationals title.
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Caleb Houstan led Montverde with 16 points, Langston Love added 13 points and Ryan Nembhard chipped in with 12 points in the win.
Jaden Akins led Sunrise Christian with 14 points.
The win gave Montverde its fifth GEICO Nationals title.
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"It's an amazing feeling to win this," said Houstan, a Michigan signee who is ranked No. 12 overall in the SI99. "It's hard to put into words what I'm feeling, but it's just overwhelming."
After a sluggish first half for both teams, the Eagles came out red hot in the third quarter led by Love’s three 3-pointers. Dariq Whitehead balanced Montverde’s offensive assault, efficiently penetrating the lane and Jalen Duren established himself in the paint to swell the Eagles’ lead to 13.
Montverde went 12 of 12 from the field in the third quarter.
"I knew that I had to come out in the second half and do whatever I could to help the team because they were really crowding the paint in the first half," said Duren, a junior who was named a finalist for the SI All-American team. "I wanted to come out and grab every rebound. That started to open everything up."
Sunrise made a run in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to six on aggressive drives and creating turnovers on the defensive end, but the Eagles countered by controlling the offensive glass and turning that into second-chance points.
The Eagles effectively limited the Buffaloes penetration for most of the game, after going 21 of 27 in their semifinal win on Friday, Sunrise didn't shoot a free throw in the title game.
Nembhard and Houstan made back-to-back 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Houstan said he and his teammates share the national title with last year's team, which featured Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham, Florida State's Scottie Barnes, North Carolina's Day'Ron Sharpe and Arkansas' Moses Moody.
That team went 25-0 and beat teams by an average of 40 points a game. Their dominance prompted widespread debates about whether they were the greatest high school team ever assembled.
All four players are projected to be taken in the first round of this year's NBA Draft, Cunningham is expected to be the No. 1 pick.
Naturally, they were heavily favored to win GEICO Nationals last season, but the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We knew we would've likely won it last year," Houstan said. "So this is for them too. We know they're proud of us and we wanted to come out and finish what we started."