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MARCH 29-31, 2018
NEW YORK CITY

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GEICO High School Nationals Tournament History

The National High School Invitational (NHSI) launched in 2009 at Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, Md. The event was 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.

The 2009 boys tournament was won by Findlay Prep (Nev.) with the girls tournament won by Seton Keough (Md.). The second annual tournament was held at Coppin State University’s Physical Education Complex in Baltimore with Findlay Prep retaining the boys title and the Peddie School (NJ) claiming the girls title. In 2011, Montrose Christian (Md.) won the boys title in double overtime while Dr. Phillips (Fla.) won the girls championship. Findlay Prep recaptured the NHSI boys title in 2012 with an overtime victory, and Riverdale Baptist (Md.) took the girls championship trophy. Last year Montverde (FL) won its first NHSI boys title, and Dr. Phillips won their second girls title.

The event moved to New York City in 2014, thanks to the sponsors and the host venue for the Championship games, Madison Square Garden. Montverde (FL) boys and Riverdale Baptist (MD) girls were crowned champions for the 2nd time. In 2017 the GEICO’S Nationals returned to NYC for the fourth consecutive year, and ninth season overall. Two new champions were crowned, as La Lumiere (IN) won for the boys, as did Miami Country Day (FL) for the girls.

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Team Profiles

Boys Teams Profiles


Key Players

One of the nation’s most exciting players and already named the Naismith, USA Today and Morgan Wooten Player of the Year, 6-7 RJ Barrett is the ringleader. The Canadian-born player has all the natural scoring instincts, elite feel for the game and body control that made the national analysts ooh and ah. This week the Duke signee played at the McDonald’s All-American Game and will be headed to the Jordan Brand Game after competing in the GEICO Nationals. Another Canadian, 6-4 Andrew Nembard, signed with Florida and possesses top court vision, passing skills and compliments more prolific scorers. At 6-3, Georgia Tech-bound Mike Devoe is a great set-up man and relishes sharing the ball. That’s good news for hard-working 6-10, 225-pound Filip Petrusev (Gonzaga recruit). The Serbian big man can play either center or forward and helped his country win the U18 European Championship last summer. He’s considered a surefire NBA prospect. Junior forward Makhi Mitchell rounds out the starters. There’s depth on the bench with 7-1 junior Balsa Kopri (Serbia), 6-6 Karrington Davis and 5-11 leaper Trevin Wade, who is an electrifying dunker.

Road to the GEICO Nationals

No one doubts that top-ranked Montverde Academy (32-0) played the nation’s most ambitious schedule this season. After cleaning up five opponents to open the campaign, the Eagles embarked on a five-game tour in China during early December. Before flying home they stopped in Hawaii to participate against top-tier talent in the Iolani Classic. The Eagles bagged four more wins at the Classic, including one over nationally ranked Jefferson (Portland, OR), 71-43, on Dec. 20 in the final. Following the grueling 23-day trip to the Far East and South Pacific, the Eagles picked up where they left off at the prestigious Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, SC, where they crushed Long Island Lutheran (NY), 70-42, for the championship. They won three games by an average of 34 points. At the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, MA, the Eagles beat powerhouses Simeon (Chicago), 62-60, and Mater Dei (CA), 74-48. Coach Kevin Boyle’s team recorded one of the most dramatic wins of the season, in the title game of the Montverde Academy Invitational Tournament (MAIT), dropping Findlay Prep (NV), 69-67, on a 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Eagles concluded the regular season in New Jersey, posting quality wins over eventual state champion Roselle (NJ) Catholic, 60-59, Gill St. Bernard’s (NJ), 71-48, and Christ the King (NY), 85-59. The Eagles have a 45-day gap between their last game on Feb. 11 and the GEICO Nationals first round.

Did you know?

After the GEICO Nationals conclude this weekend, coach Kevin Boyle (and Oak Hill’s Steve Smith) will be back in the Big Apple to coach the Jordan Brand Game on April 6 at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. Earlier this month it was announced that Boyle was named the 2018 Naismith Coach of the Year for the second time in his storied career. Boyle has been with Montverde since 2011, having previously coached at St. Patrick (Elizabeth, NJ) where he won this award in 2011. With this year’s prestigious honor and he became the second boys’ coach to claim multiple awards and the only coach to accomplish the feat at separate high schools. “This honor is really about all of the amazing people in my life who have given me so much, and this year’s coaches and players, who sacrificed personal interests for the benefit of the program,” the veteran coach says. After two years out of the winner’s circle, Boyle and the Eagles hope to add a fourth GEICO Nationals title to his dossier (having won three from 2013 to 2015). Currently six players Boyle coached are in the NBA including Kyrie Irving (Celtics) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrest (Hornets) from his days at St. Patrick and GEICO Nationals alumni in Ben Simmons (Sixers), Joel Embiid (Sixers), D’Angelo Russell (Nets) and Dakari Johnson (Thunder) from Montverde.


Key Players

There’s a reason why the Warriors won 43 games—the fourth most in the storied program’s history: Talent. Yes the Warriors are flush with it and the GEICO Nationals championship trophy is within three wins. “These guys like playing with one another and the chemistry is right,” coach Steve Smith says. The Warriors are eye candy to fans, unleashing a fun brand of basketball that features athletes in action. The three-guard attack is 6-4 Will Richardson (Oregon signee), 6-6 wing Eddy Kayaloud (France U17 team) and 6-7 Keldon Johnson (Kentucky, McDonald’s All-American, 20.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg). Richardson (8.3 apg) is lefty pass-first point, Kayaloud (4.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg) is a strong big bodied rebounder, and Johnson can score the basketball from all angles. Florida-bound Keyontae Johnson (18.1 ppg, 66% FG, 106 steals) is 6-5 and the team’s top athlete. Kansas-bound David McCormack (McDonald’s All-American, 12.3 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 73 blocks) is a true-5 at 6-10 and dropped 50 pounds from last season increasing his agility and plays above the rim. At 5-10, sophomore Evan Johnson (6.0 ppg, 81.4% FT) is a lightning quick three-ball shooter who defends his position, while 6-8 junior BJ Mack (3.6 ppg, 51.3% FG) swings in and out, showing versatility. “This team’s commitment started Day One; things fell into place early,” Smith says. As for a fun stat: the Warriors have 338 dunks, including 126 from Keyontae Johnson and 92 from Keldon Johnson.

Road to the GEICO Nationals

The second-ranked Warriors (43-1) take a seven-game win streak into the GEICO Nationals, an event they won in dramatic fashion in 2016. As usual Oak Hill Academy is a traveling show that plays anyone, anywhere, anytime. In others words, they don’t back down from a challenge. When Oak Hill tips off at GEICO, it marks the 12th state they will have visited this season and that includes a grueling schedule and 36-game winning streak to open the season. Oak Hill won three in-season tournaments: Chick-fil-A Classic National Division (SC), the Les Schwab Invitational (OR) and the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions (MO). Coach Steve Smith’s team recorded quality wins over fellow GEICO Nationals invitees Lone Peak (UT), 70-67, at the Hoophall West Classic (AZ) and University School (FL), 82-69, at the Hoophall Classic (MA).

Did you know?

It’s always an honor to don the Red, White and Blue jersey of USA Basketball and that’s about to come to fruition for Oak Hill teammates Keldon Johnson and David McCormack. Johnson and McCormack were selected to represent the USA Men’s Junior Select Team for the 21st annual Nike Hoop Summit which takes place on April 13th at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore. The young Americans will take on an international team of players 19 or younger, who attend high school in the United States or are highly regarded international junior players, in the one-game showdown. The prestigious 12 U.S. team members are ranked among the top 28 in the ESPN 100 for the class of 2018, including Johnson at No. 6 and McCormack at No. 28. Johnson, who is from Sterling, VA, was named Virginia’s Gatorade player of the year and has participated in USA team trials. Meanwhile, McCormack is making his debut for USA Basketball.


Key Players

The Sharks employ an eight-player rotation with three players considered high-major recruits. Each of the main recruits made large strides in their games this season, resulting in the program’s first-ever state championship earlier this month. The Sharks are an up-tempo team that loves to attack the rim, thrives in transition and is unselfish with the ball. Vernon Carey Jr., a 6-10 junior ranked #2 in the ESPN Super 60, is considered the centerpiece, and is fielding offers from Miami, North Carolina, Duke, Michigan State and Florida. Carey’s freakish athleticism and advanced offensive skills define his game—his father played for the Miami Dolphins. Last summer he was the MVP of the U16 USA Team that won a gold medal at FIBA Americas in Argentina. 6-3, lefty Trey Doomes signed with West Virginia and is an offensive machine with more than 2,000 career points. Scottie Barnes, an elite 6-8 sophomore, is the “alpha dog” on the floor and possesses a dangerous perimeter game and superior defending ability. In the backcourt, New Mexico-recruit Drue Drinnon (10.0 ppg) is also a 2,000-point scorer but has sacrificed offense to better the team and 6-1 junior Logan Alters is a “catch and shoot” wing, who is the main threat from three-point range. Off the bench, it’s juniors, 6-2 Joshua Sanguinetti and 5-10 Xavien Flowers, both are blue-chip football recruits. Senior Swinton Acosta adds more depth at guard.

Road to the GEICO Nationals

It was a banner season for the Broward County school after capturing the Class 5A state championship with an 80-40 trouncing of Trinity Catholic (Ocala) in the final. Doomes had 26 points, six rebounds and four assists, Drinnon added 15 points and Carey had 13 points with nine rebounds. The Sharks (33-1) also crushed Tampa Catholic, 83-48, in the semifinals when Carey led the way with 21 points and 12 rebounds. The regular season featured a national schedule, with the lone loss to Oak Hill Academy (VA), 83-69, at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, MA. However, the Sharks landed in the national rankings when they won four games over nationally ranked teams to capture the City of Palms Classic title in Fort Myers, FL, including a 77-72 win over Memphis East (TN) who at the time was the #1 ranked team in the nation. Along the way, coach Adrian Sosa’s team defeated three current Florida state champions, five state champions from the 2016-17 season, nationally ranked McEachern (GA), Wesleyan Christian (NC), Mater Dei (CA) and bring a 16-game win streak to the GEICO Nationals.

Did you know?

Nova Southeastern University School or commonly known as University School was founded in 1971 and is an independent, college preparatory school in Fort Lauderdale. The school has produced several high-profile alumni that have built careers in writing, acting and athletics. Scott Weinger (Class of 1993) was the voice of the title character in Aladdin. From the Class of ’99 there is Seth Gabel and Josh Gad. Gabel is an awarding nominated actor for his roles in TV shows Salem and Fringe; Gad is a comedian, voice actor, TV actor and has appeared on Broadway in the hit musical Book of Mormon. The school has sent two alumni to the NFL, wide receiver Daniel Braverman to the Chicago Bears and defensive back Quincy Wilson of the Indianapolis Colts. From the Class of 2004, Michael Waller is a contemporary classical music and avant-garde composer.


Key Players

The senior-laden Pilots (31-4) enter the talented GEICO Nationals with a squad that can compete for the championship. The roster features players from four different states (five from Texas) and three African nations. Six players signed with Division I schools: 7-2 Bol Bol (Oregon), 6-7 Reggie Chaney (Arkansas), 6-4 Kyler Edwards (Texas Tech), 6-10 Ghanaian Nathan Mensah (San Diego State), 6-5 Jack Schwietz (UMBC) and 7-3 Connor Vanover (Memphis). Bol, the son of the late Manute Bol (who played in the NBA) and McDonald’s All-American, has a 7-9 wingspan and combines speed, skill, length and athletic ability to cover the court with fluid strides and produce triple-doubles with points, rebounds and blocks. Chaney is a sculpted athlete at 6-8, 230 pounds and will excel with the Razorbacks at the next level. Edwards, a Texas native, is a guard/wing with the ability to score at all three levels. 6-7 wing Spencer Washington and 6-4 TJ Moss add depth and scoring to the stacked roster that is built to win the GEICO Nationals.

Road to the GEICO Nationals

Once again the Pilots scheduled wisely and traversed the country for high-level competition. Findlay was active on the national tournament scene but failed to secure a title. The first try came at the Chick-fil-A Classic (SC) where they fell in the semifinals to IMG Academy (FL) 73-66. Next came the Montverde (FL) Academy Invitational Tournament that saw them give Montverde their toughest game of the year in the championship, losing on a last second 3-pointer. There were quality wins over Montclair (NJ) Immaculate at the Hoophall Classic (MA), a victory at the Cancer Research Classic (WV) against IMG Academy (FL) another one at Jordan Brand “Like Mike” Invitational against Morgan Park (IL), a big win at the Chick-fil-A Classic against Paul VI (VA), and a win over in-state rival Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), 75-68, in the Big City Showdown. During the season, the Pilots made trips to 11 states and now here in New York makes it an even dozen.

Did you know?

Findlay Prep truly defines the 21st Century model program. In a short time, Findlay Prep has built a big-time national reputation. The Pilots are 343-26 in the last 11 seasons with three GEICO Nationals’ titles (2009, ’10 and ’12). That prosperity stretches to the highest level with at least eight alumni having made the NBA —Avery Bradley, Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, Jorge Gutierrez, Kelly Oubre, Anthony Bennett, Nick Johnson and DeAndre Liggins. The program has sent nearly 50 players to Division I programs. Since the GEICO Nationals era, Paul Washington, is the fifth coach at Findlay. Washington replaced Andy Johnson, who left in 2016 to become an assistant on Todd Simon’s staff at Southern Utah. Simon previously coached at Findlay (2012-13), going 35-1. Johnson went 55-5 in two seasons at Findlay, but returned to Las Vegas this season as an assistant at Coronado (NV). Mike Peck won three GEICO (previously NHSI) titles with a 157-8 record in five seasons. Currently he’s associate head coach at UTSA. Both Johnson and Simon were assistants under Peck at Findlay.


Key Players

The Lakers role out a staring five that features three seniors and two juniors. The roster is dotted with players from Australia, Canada, Nigeria and Croatia. The team leader is senior Tyger Campbell, a 6-0 point guard from Nashville, TN. Campbell is the quarterback and has verballed to UCLA, averages 15. 8 points, 7.7 assists and connects on 41% of his three-pointers. The main frontline man is 6-9 Isaiah Stewart (20.2 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 67% FG), a major recruit in the Class of 2019 who is ranked #13 in the ESPN Super 60. The Rochester, NY native combines a 7-foot-4 wingspan and power moves to protect the rim. Stewart has a high motor and has received offers from high majors. Stewart is flanked in the post by Loyola (Ill.)-bound Franklin Agunanne (8.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 58% FG). The 6-10 center from Nigeria also possesses a long wingspan that clogs the middle and is a terror on the glass. The Lakers stretch the defense with perimeter busters, 6-2 senior Grant Beucler (6.4 ppg) and 6-4 junior Paxson Wojcik (12.7 ppg, 46% 3-FG). Coming off the bench is 6-7 junior Emanuel Miller (10.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 58% FG) and 6-10 Jakov Kukic (4.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg)

Road to the GEICO Nationals

In his first year in charge of the Lakers (23-3), Pat Holmes didn’t shy away from completion, mixing national events with several games against Midwestern schools. All three losses were to nationally ranked teams at major events, but the Lakers have rebounded and carry a 10-game win streak into GEICO Nationals. La Lumiere had a busy January heading to three major events, defeating nationally ranked Imhotep (Philadelphia, PA), 61-51, and losing to top-ranked Montverde Academy (FL), 77-55, at the Cancer Research Classic in West Virginia. Their travels went to Springfield, MO for the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions, where they went 2-1 finishing second following a 78-70 loss to Oak Hill Academy (VA) in the final. In the TOC semifinals, they dispatched nationally ranked and state champion Brentwood Academy (TN).

Did you know?

La Lumiere is a regular in the national rankings thanks to the previous two coaches both of whom are now Big East assistants. Alan Huss, who coached the Lakers from 2010-14, did the heavy lifting taking the Catholic boarding school from northwest Indiana to this event twice. Huss accrued an impressive 102-19 record including a perfect 62-0 home record at Marsch Gymnasium. He coached more than three dozen Division I players at the high school level. In 2014, he left for New Mexico, and then last spring he happily returned to his alma mater, Creighton, where he helped the Bluejays reach the NCAA Tournament this season. Shane Heirman, who assisted Huss, guided La Lumiere for three seasons, going 82-7, capped by last year’s GEICO (previously DICK’S Sporting Goods) Nationals championship. In 2016, he took the Lakers to the DICK’S title game but lost in an OT heartbreaker to Oak Hill Academy (VA) in Madison Square Garden. Heirman left La Lumiere last May for DePaul. The Chicagoland native played collegiately at Tulsa. Beyond basketball La Lumiere’s most famous alum is Chief Justice John Roberts who graduated in 1973 and remains active with his alma-mater. When the GEICO Nationals where held in D.C. in 2011 he hosted the team for a private dinner.


Key Players

The Matadors are a joy to watch, featuring athletes that love to defend, press and trap all over the floor and score points—lots of them (88.2 points per game). It starts with the three-guard rotation of juniors, 6-2 Jaelen House, 6-4 Jalen Williams and 6-1 Jovan Blacksher. House (18.6 ppg, 6.7 spg, 5.7 apg, 48 made 3s) is the main scoring threat in a lineup of five double-digit scorers. The Arizona-bound House did not play in his teams opening round loss to Montverde Academy (FL) in last year’s DICK’S Nationals. Blacksher (15.7 ppg, 5.8 spg, 5.7 apg) is another college prospect, who is a facilitator and lock-down defender. Jalen Williams (6.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 63% FG) rounds out the backcourt. Up front, there’s little drop off with 6-5 bouncy senior Immanuel Allen (15.1 ppg. 6.4 rpg, 2.5 spg), 6-4 sophomore Shemar Morrow (10.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 66% FG) and 6-4 junior Antonio Reeves (13.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 40 made 3s) all of who hit the boards and trigger the up-tempo attack.

Road to the GEICO Nationals

The Matadors (25-1) are the class of the Southwest and for the fourth time in the last five years won an Arizona state championship, capturing their third straight 4A title rallying against Salpointe Catholic (Tucson), 83-79. What’s so special about this year’s 4A final is that Shadow Mountain could have lost and missed the GEICO Nationals. Fueled by a 32-11 fourth quarter surge, the Matadors completed the amazing comeback from down 22 points in the third quarter as Jaelen House finished with 30 points and 14 rebounds. Unlike the 2016-17 season, the Matadors left Arizona to compete in the prestigious Montverde (FL) Academy Invitational Tournament in late January, going 2-1 in the star-studded field, taking third place. Coach Mike Bibby’s club lost to Findlay Prep (NV), 83-74, in the semifinals. In December, they recorded a pair wins over California powers Chino Hills and Sierra Canyon School at the Hoophall West in Phoenix. Entering the GEICO Nationals, the Matadors carry a nine-game win streak and have beaten 70 consecutive Arizona schools while Bibby upped his career mark to 131-17.

Did you know?

Coach Mike Bibby is a distinguished alumnus of Shadow Mountain and has taken the Matadors to new heights after winning four state titles in the last five years. Bibby stayed home for college, helping the Arizona Wildcats to the 1997 National Championship. Following his sophomore season with the Wildcats he entered the 1998 NBA Draft and earned All-Rookie honors with the Vancouver Grizzlies. During his 14-year NBA career he made stops in Sacramento, Atlanta, Washington, Miami and New York. He retuned to Shadow Mountain as an assistant in 2013, where he coached his son (Mike Jr.), who just finished his sophomore season at South Florida. Bibby comes from an athletic family, his father, Henry, earned an NBA Championship ring with the Knicks and his uncle pitched in the majors. Coincidentally, his brother in-law, Eddie House, also played in the NBA and was a teammate with Sacramento during the 2004-05 season.


Key Players

Garfield features two of the top players in the Seattle Metro. Though the Class 3A champion Bulldogs are a balanced club with several players competing for floor time, it’s J’Raan Brooks and PJ Fuller that carry the group. Brooks (13.4 ppg, 11.4 rpg) is a 6-9 bouncy power forward, with an affinity for playing lockdown defense. On offense, he is physically imposing, playing inside-out while being able to stretch out to the 3 point line. Brooks recently committed to USC. Fuller (17.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 5.0 apg), who played for coach Brandon Roy last year at Nathan Hale (Seattle), is a 6-4 junior wing guard (ESPN No. 45 in his class) with his stock rising. He’s one of the most exciting players at the GEICO Nationals with his high-flying arsenal of dunks and up-tempo style. At 6-5, junior forward Jamon Kemp, comes with great bloodlines—dad Shawn Kemp played in the NBA for 14 seasons. In the 3A final, point guard Pierre Crockwell Jr. orchestrated the attack, but showed he can score with authority netting 19 points. Senior guard Eddie Turner also turned heads in the 3A final matching Crockwell’s 19 points. Sophomore Marjon Beauchamp is a 6-5 athlete with interest from Washington and Arizona to name a few high-majors.

Road to the GEICO Nationals

When Brandon Roy was named head coach at Garfield last May, he took over for his former mentor Ed Haskins (now at Washington State). The Bulldogs (28-1) won the Class 3A state championship in impressive fashion, knocking off crosstown rivals Rainier Beach, 72-63, in overtime. However the 3A title hopes nearly evaporated in the Sea-King districts when the Bulldogs were upset by Seattle Prep, 58-55, but recovered and managed to win their final six games. Garfield opened the season capturing 22 wins, including three over California schools, at the Rancho Mirage (CA) Holiday Invitational. After returning home, the team went unbeaten in the 3A Metro League, topping Rainier Beach twice and beating Oregon power Jefferson (Portland). Roy’s club is balanced and high scoring, averaging 77.2 points while allowing only 57 per game. Earlier this month at the Tacoma Dome, Garfield downed O’Dea (Seattle) and Eastside Catholic (Sammamish) in the 3A quarterfinals and semifinals respectively, before winning the program’s first title since 2015.

Did you know?

Coach Brandon Roy, a household name during his playing days in college and the NBA, is making quite a name in the high school coaching circles. Roy, 33, who spent six years in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves, had his career cut short with chronic knee injuries in 2011. Roy was a three-time NBA All-Star guard and Rookie of the Year in 2007 with the Trail Blazers. Roy’s first year as a high school basketball coach (2016-17), he produced a perfect 29-0 mark with the Class 3A title at crosstown rival Nathan Hale (Seattle) and was named Naismith National Coach of the Year. In his first year at the helm of the Garfield Bulldogs, Roy guided his alma mater (Class of 2002) to the Class 3A state crown with 28-1 record and a first ever berth in the GEICO Nationals. As a collegian at Washington (his No. 3 jersey has been retired), Roy earned a reputation for his analytical mind and visionary court sense. After two seasons he’s 2-for-2 at states with a jaw-dropping 57-1 record (.982 winning percentage). Notable Garfield alumni include music producer Quincy Jones, legendary rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix and Baskin-Robbins co-founder Irvine Robbins.


Key Players

The Knights are a throwback team that will push the tempo, defend baseline to baseline and create opportunities on the perimeter. It is a tight rotation with seven players seeing the bulk of the playing time. Utah State-bound Steven Ashworth is the playmaking point guard. He averages 16.4 points and 7.1 assists, drained 60 3-pointers and recently surpassed 1,000 career points. At 6-5, Max Brenchley (10.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) is the “ultimate glue guy,” says coach David Evans. Brenchley is headed to BYU on a golf scholarship as the state’s top golfer. The Knights received a late season boost when 6-7 junior Jaxon Pollard returned from injury (torn anterior cruciate ligament). Pollard’s uncle (Scot Pollard) had an 11-year NBA career and played at Kansas. Jack is being recruited by BYU and Utah State. Chantry Ross, a 5-9 senior, averages 16.4 points and 4.0 assists while hitting a team-high 64 3s. Jackson Brinkerhoff (6-7, 220 pounds) is a bruiser who is known for post moves and defense. Brinkerhoff (13.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg) is being recruited by low Division I and junior college programs. Key reserves are Taylor Madson a 6-0 scrappy guard and 6-7 junior forward Jonas Evans who adds frontline support. A majority of the Lone Peak’s eight seniors will start their two-year Mormon mission once high school ends before returning to start college.

Road to the GEICO Nationals

One of the nation’s winningest, most consistent teams in the last decade, Lone Peak (23-3) started 7-3, recovering in the New Year to capture the program’s ninth title in a 61-44 win over Pleasant Grove in the Class 6A championship. This was Lone Peak’s first title since 2014. Steven Ashworth (MVP) and Max Brenchley were named to the all-tournament team. However, Lone Peak’s national schedule was limited to five games at events in Arizona and South Carolina in December. At the Hoophall West in Phoenix, the Knights led GEICO entrant and past winner Oak Hill Academy (VA), 20-14, after one quarter before losing 70-67. They rebounded to defeat eventual Arizona 5A state champions Sunnyslope (Phoenix), 72-64. After Christmas, the Knights were a disappointing 1-2 at the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, SC. The losses were to DeMatha (MD), 74-63, and Bishop Gorman (NV), 66-57, while topping Albany (NY) Academy, 76-63, in the consolation round. If a coach counts “good” losses then all 3 were for Coach Evans’s squad. DeMatha, ranked #8 in the USA Today Super 25 won three postseason tournaments, including the ultra-competitive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, and Gorman ranked #19 in the nation captured Nevada’s Class 4A title for the seventh straight time. In spite of the losses, the Knights refocused back in Utah to win the last 16 games, including four in five days at states.

Did you know?

Lone Peak, which opened in 1997, is located about an hour south of Salt Lake City. Since its inceptions, the school’s athletic and activities departments has churned out 55 state champions in 18 sports and activities including marching band, debate, academic decathlon, drill, and boys’ basketball earlier this month. Notable alumni include defensive end CJ Ah You (Buffalo Bills, St. Louis Rams), guard Shawn Murphy (Utah State, NFL), defensive end Sae Tautu (New Orleans Saints), hoopsters Erik Mika (BYU, pro in Italy), Frank Jackson (Duke, New Orleans Pelicans), Justin Hamilton (LSU, pro in China), two-time Mr. Utah’s Basketball Tyler Haws (BYU) and 2005 Mr. Utah Basketball Jackson Emery (BYU),; and outfielder Jacob Hannemann (BYU, Chicago Cubs). There’s also Nikki Bohne, a former Broadway singer and actress, who was cast in Wicked and Legally Blonde.


Girls Teams Profiles


Key Players

Hard to argue that the super backcourt of Jazmine Massengill (1,465 career points) and Elizabeth Balogun (1,243 points)—both are 6-1—is not the best in the nation. “Hey, they get my vote,” says coach Keisha Hunt, who describes the pair as “mismatch nightmares.” Massengill (11.6 ppg, 7.2 apg, 5.9 rpg) has signed with Tennessee and is an athletic combo-guard with oodles of talent. She’ll set up teammates and scores off the dribble. Balogun is from Nigeria and is off to Georgia Tech. Balogun (18.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.0 spg, 2.1 bpg) stuffs the stat sheet as a wing guard, who flashes versatility and endless motor. At 6-7, Camilla Cardoso is an emerging Brazilian, who is becoming a refined post. Cardoso (13.8 ppg, 10.3rpg, 3.2 bpg) relied on her size and wingspan in the past but is now expanding her overall skill set. Sophomore Treasure Hunt (15.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg) is a coach’s daughter that plays with headiness and has also been invited to the USA U17 team trials in May. 6-2 junior Esmery Martinez (8.3 ppg) joined the team this season from the Dominican Republic. Unsigned senior Marta Rodrigues (2.8 ppg, 2.3 apg) is a solid backup point guard.

Road to the GEICO Nationals

There is a belief the schedule prepared the Lady Hawks (24-2) for a GEICO Nationals return. A year ago, HHC made their debut here with mixed results. After a thrilling 56-55 overtime win over St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, MD), the Lady Hawks lost to Miami (FL) Country Day, 81-55, in the final. “We used that game as a motivating factor,” coach Keisha Hunt says. This time the Lady Hawks are the lone returning team to the GEICO Nationals and are in position for the elusive title. In the lead-up to New York, HHCA claimed the National Association of Christian Athletes National Tournament Division I championship for the second straight season and ninth overall, burying New Hope Academy (Hyattsville, MD), 65-40, in the final. Jazmine Massengill was named the tournament’s top offensive player and Elizabeth Balogun earned the top defender award. The regular season opened with six wins before an 80-72 setback to nationally ranked Paul VI (Fairfax, VA) on Dec. 2. The Lady Hawks went 2-1 at the prestigious Title IX Classic in Washington, DC, losing to Westridge Academy (Kernersville, NC), 63-59, but then reeled off 11 straight wins. Other quality wins were against Lakota West (OH), Riverdale Baptist (MD), Roland Park Country (MD), Miami Country Day (FL) and both Kentucky state finalists Mercer County and Mercy (Louisville). HHCA last played on Feb. 23 at the NACA Tournament in Jackson, TN.

Did you know?

Hamilton Heights Christian Academy typifies the proverb, “good things come from small packages.” HHCA is a small non-denominational Christian school with around 60 students in grades 9-12. For the last eight years under coach Keisha Hunt, the girls’ program has grown into a national power. The program’s accolades went national with the emergence of McDonald’s All Americans Elizabeth Balogun and Jazmine Massengill starting in the 2014-15 season. A year ago, Amber Hunt, coach Hunt’s daughter, helped the Lady Hawks to their first appearance at this event and a second-place finish. In 26 games (with six starts) this year at Alabama State, Amber averaged 3.7 points in just over 13 minutes per game with a season-high 13 points versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Jan. 8, and had eight against defending National Champion South Carolina in the season opener on Nov. 10.


Key Players

Keep in mind that Westlake has structured its style to fit long, athletic players that compose the current roster. The Lions are deep, using 10 players and normally have enough left in the tank to run opponents off the court by the second half. At 6-1, Taylor Hosendove is a skilled wing, signed with Texas Tech. Hosendove (11.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg) is versatile on the perimeter and has the ability to finish in heavy traffic. Freshman Raven Johnson (10. 6 ppg, 3.2 apg) is the floor general, facilitating the attack and pairing with do-everything senior Anastasia Warren (11.4 ppg) in the backcourt. 5-6 defensive ace Kennedy Hansberry signed with Loyola University-New Orleans (LA) and 6-1 Simone Lett (8.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg) is a strong rebounder. Off the bench, 6-5 sophomore Lydia Freeman and 6-2 Brianna Tunage are intimidating forces in the middle. Sophomore Carlyse Hooks is the backup point guard and 5-11 Shekinah Howard can stretch the defense with a mid-range game that extends past the arc.

Road to the GEICO Nationals

The Lions (30-1) finally won a state championship this season when they defeated Newton, 60-45, in the Class AAAAAAA final. Coach Hilda Hankerson’s team was more than prepared for the program’s historical postseason after playing in the Naples (FL) Holiday Shootout. The Lions took second at the event suffering their lone loss of the season to Mercer County (KY), 77-73, in the final. Mercer County went on to win Kentucky’s single-class state crown. Along the way, the Lions also dispatched Ramsay (AL), a team that was runners-up in Alabama’s Class 6A. This season the Lions won all 27 games against in-state competition, went 10-0 in Region 2 play and closed the season on a 19-game winning streak. Once the Class AAAAAAA playoffs started, Westlake needed five wins to win it all and did so by scoring margins of 25, 23, 25, 8 and 15 points. In the quarterfinals, they defeated second-ranked Collins Hill, 59-34, considered a serious challenger.

Did you know?

Westlake, which was founded in 1988 when two schools were combined, is located in the southern end of Fulton County near the world famous Hartsfield-Atlanta Jackson International Airport. Traditionally the school is an incubator for future NFL talent. Annually, Westlake leads the NFL with the most alumni on opening day rosters. Last season they had six active players. The most recognizable alum is Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2010 and guided Auburn to the national title. Keyaron Fox won a Super Ring as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009 and Anthony Mitchell with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001. Adam “Pacman” Jones has started for the Cincinnati Bengals in their defensive backfield since 2010.


Key Players

When you think “CV” in recent years, the 6-foot-1 versatile twins, Lacie (9.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 4.7 apg) and Lexie Hull, are the signature names. For the last four years, opponents were seeing double and that meant three state championships during their varsity stay. The talented tandem (honor roll students too) are headed to powerhouse Stanford after considering Gonzaga, Oregon, Arizona State, Washington and Washington State. Lexie (20.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg) is a five-star rated player (16th ranked player in 2018) who provides backcourt production off the dribble and with a solid mid-range game. She’ll breakdown a defense from the perimeter and in transition. Lacie is a gifted wing, who stretches the defense from beyond the arc and possesses sound fundamentals. At 6-0, Hailey Christopher (8.8 ppg) is headed to Idaho in the fall, and brings energy to the post while attacking the boards. Tomekia Whitman, a 5-9 junior, (7.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg), 5-4 junior Camryn Skaife (5.9 points. 2.6 spg) and 5-9 sophomore Peyton Howard are future core players for coach Freddie Rehkow.

Road to the GEICO Nationals

The Bears (27-0) won their second state championship in three seasons when they stopped Woodinville, 70-39, in the Class 4A final. They are the 12th Washington 4A girls’ champions to record an undefeated campaign. CV set the pace early in the final, leading 16-6 through one quarter and 42-11 at halftime. The Hull sisters combined to score 32 points and Hailey Christopher added 12. In seven postseason games, CV rolled to wins by margins of 61, 47, 37, 37, 45, 18 and 31 points. Expect the score lines to shrink in the GEICO Nationals. The Bears, who stress pressure defense, were the class of the Greater Spokane League, going 14-0 against premier large-school eastern Washington competition that included Gonzaga Prep (Spokane)—a team, which competed in the GEICO Nationals (known as DICK’S Sporting Goods) in 2015. The Bears do not play a national schedule, but did play one out-of-state team when they stopped Post Falls (ID), 59-48, in December. Post Falls went onto to win the Idaho Class 5A title, beating undefeated Eagle in the final.

Did you know?

True aficionados of the women’s game can cherish the contribution from the sliver of land in eastern Washington—mainly Spokane—that produces talented, fundamentally sound players. By now, the nation is aware of Stanford-bound Lacie and Lexie Hull of Central Valley, but those are just the most recent. CV alumna Emily Westerberg was an All-American at Arizona State, was drafted to the WNBA in 2007, and recently named to the school’s Hall of Fame. Angie Bjorklund of University (Spokane) was a McDonald’s All-American in 2007 before winning a national title at Tennessee and playing in the WNBA (Chicago Sky). Before splitting time playing abroad and with the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, Briann January was a standout (Class of 2005) at Lewis and Clark (Spokane) and then Arizona State. Shaniqua Nilles of West Valley (Spokane) graduated from Gonzaga University and plays professionally in Europe. In the 1980s, Lisa Comstrock-Schultz of West Valley was the star and went to play at Eastern Washington and professionally in Germany, before a storied high school coaching career in Washington.


Key Players

Athleticism is the trademark of Winter Haven. Four seniors and a junior make-up the starting five and each one brings a different skill set while stretching the floor. The relentless defense and precise passing is the key to Winter Haven’s success. Central Florida-signee Diamond Battles, a 5-7 point guard, is the leader. Battles dictates the pace, distributes the ball, imposes her will on defense, creates off the bounce and is a calming influence when the intensity is ratcheted up. 6-2 Tyia Singleton is known for her tenacious rebounding and ability to finish at the rim. Melijah Sullivan, a 5-11 wing, has signed with Division II Tampa and 5-10 Amaya Small is another contributor in the backcourt. Junior guard Zakiyah Franklin is already attracting attention from high majors such as Florida, West Virginia and Cincinnati. At 5-7, Franklin fits the mold of a Winter Haven guard, playing up-tempo and applying pressure on the defensive end. Franklin, Sullivan, Singleton and Battles all have three state championship rings.

Road to the GEICO Nationals

If success breeds success, it’s easy to see why the Blue Devils (32-1) captured their third consecutive state championship making it the first team from Polk County (from central Florida) to win three straight girls’ titles. Coach Johnnie Lawson’s team joined a select group last month becoming the 12th girls’ basketball team to win at least three titles in a row after a 56-46 win over Nova (Davie) in the Class 8A final. Zakiyah Franklin topped the Blue Devils with 20 points. In the 8A semifinals, they cruised by Lincoln (Tallahassee), 54-29, with Franklin’s 19-point, five-assist punctuating the win. Ironically the season tipped off in November with a 57-47 win over reigning GEICO (previously DICK’S Sporting Goods) Nationals champion Miami Country Day, setting the tone for the remainder of the term. In December, the first true tests arrived at the She Got Game Classic, held near Washington, DC, where the Blue Devils beat North Augusta (SC), St. Frances Academy (MD) and New Hope Academy (MD) in well played contests. After Christmas, they won the Florida Prospects Holiday Tournament in Orlando, defeating Florida Prep (Melbourne), 41-33, in the final. The lone loss was a 58-56 overtime decision on the road at up-and-coming Montverde Academy on Feb. 1. After that Winter Haven rattled off eight straight wins, including seven in the playoffs, to cap its state championship run.

Did you know?

The seeds of the Winter Haven’s success can be traced back nearly two decades when head coach Johnnie Lawson was an assistant to LeDawn Gibson, now the head coach at Florida A&M. Lawson admits that building a championship program takes time, having been to five state championships before winning their first at the conclusion of the 2004-05 season. The Blue Devils quickly won their second in 2007. Gibson went 331-48 record, highlighted by two state championships in 2005 (Class 4A) and 2007 (Class 5A), seven Finals appearances, eight Final Four appearances, plus nine district and eight regional titles. Lawson took over in 2008 but wouldn’t win a title (Class 7A) until 2016, but added his third straight in February.


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THURSDAY, 03/29/18
Christ the King High School
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Paragon Marketing Group

Paragon Marketing Group, an engagement marketing consultancy, owns and operates the GEICO High School National Tournament. We develop marketing platforms grounded in sports, entertainment, music, arts, cause and media partnerships. These platforms are created to develop engaged, sustainable relationships with our clients’ target audiences. Additionally, we are committed to creating a culture that delivers a great place to work and engenders long-term, healthy business partnerships.

Since our inception in 1995, we have grown from 3 people to over 50 marketing professionals, all of whom have a passion for sponsorship marketing. Our core competencies include sponsorship targeting/identification, evaluation, negotiation, activation, execution and measurement. Additionally, many of our clients have trusted Paragon to deliver value in the areas of event creation, mobile marketing, digital/social marketing platforms and television/digital content production.

In 2002, we secured the rights to put LeBron James, Cleveland’s then star high school basketball player, on ESPN2. Their subsequent broadcast of the game against Oak Hill Academy garnered the highest ratings ever for the channel and created a new television category — live national broadcast of high school athletics. Since then, our relationship with ESPN has grown into a strategic partnership showcasing the top high school football and basketball teams and players to a national audience each season.

To date we have partnered with ESPN to televise over 500 high school football and basketball contests featuring teams from 35 states. Games featured some of the biggest names in sports including Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, Tim Tebow, Jadeveon Clowney, Julio Jones, AJ Green and Jameis Winston.

Paragon partners with ESPN on the following live properties:

GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff & Showcase
GEICO ESPN High School Basketball Showcase
GEICO State Champions Bowl Series
GEICO High School Basketball Nationals
GEICO High School Lacrosse Nationals

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