Findlay Prep Pulls Off Comeback for the Ages, Wins Third NHSI Championship
Findlay Prep, ESPN’s #2 ranked team in the nation entered Saturday’s ESPN NHSI championship game with a record of 31-1.
Their only loss of the season came against La Lumiere of La Porte, Indiana back in late December. In that game Findlay trailed by 18 points and mounted a major comeback late in the fourth quarter. La Lumiere ended up winning that game by one point, sending Findlay Prep home with their only loss of the season.
On Saturday afternoon Montverde set out to Win their first ever National High School Invitational championship, and give Findlay Prep their second loss of the season. For 3 1/2 quarters it appeared that Montverde was going to accomplish their goal as they dominated the game on both sides of the court. Montverde led by seven after one. At the half they led 38-29. Through three quarters they had stretched the lead out to 54-39. Montverde’s biggest lead was 18.
Findlay Prep just couldn’t get it going. Montverde’s Kasey Hill, a Florida commit, was lighting it up. Findlay Prep’s pair of McDonald’s All-Americans appeared sluggish and lacked the drive that they had displayed in the tournament’s first two rounds. About half way through the fourth quarter something clicked for Findlay. Findlay trailed by 14 points with 3:13 remaining. They extended their defense to a full court press. They forced eight turnovers in a 10 possession span. They started feeding the ball inside to senior Brandon Ashley, an Arizona commit. Ashley took the game over drawing foul after foul, and converting free throw after free throw. Three big men for Montverde ended up fouling out, four Montverde players total.
Ashley would go 13-14 from the line and finish the game with 31 points in 24 minutes. Findlay would come all the way back to take a late lead, but Montverde responded. Ashley converted two free throws with 20.5 seconds remaining to tie it and Montverde’s Kasey Hill held for the last shot, a long jumper that missed. In the over-time session it was evident that Montverde was in trouble. Both of their 7-footers had fouled out and their front line was thin.
When it was all said and done Findlay came back to win by a score of 86-83, completing a sensational comeback to win their third NHSI championship in four years. Ashley was the star of the game, but Findlay had many contributors. The championship capped off a phenomenal 2012 NHSI.