NORTH BETHESDA, Md. – Two hours after witnessing the most-amazing 18-point comeback I have ever seen where Findlay Prep (Nev.) ripped the NHSI championship away from Montverde Academy (Fla.), I was on a plane set for New Orleans. Flanked by Paul Biancardi and with future Oregon PG Dominic Artis (Oakland, Calif./Findlay Prep) two rows behind us, I still couldn't believe Findlay Prep was able to score 37 points in the fourth quarter and win in overtime.
A lot of it had to do with the play of Arizona signee Brandon Ashley (Oakland, Calif./Findlay Prep), who had a hand in fouling out four members of the Montverde frontcourt. However, it took the McDonald's All-American time to get going. A long time.
The top-10 recruit, prior to the championship game, hadn’t been playing well. Through 20 minutes of the championship game he still hadn’t really been a factor during the entire NHSI and doubt definitely crept into my mind. I’m still not sold on him remaining a top-10 player in the class but I’m sure I witnessed the most dominant quarter-and-a-half of action of any big man this season. Ashley had six points at the break and before overtime he’d amassed 29 as he took over the game. Because of his stature in the Class of 2012, the bar is set high and for 10 minutes in a crucial – and urgent – situation, Ashley flipped the switch from casual contributor to beast mode.
Hill could be king
Had Ashley and Co. not woken from their game-long slumber, unquestionably the story of the tournament would have been Florida commit Kasey Hill (Montverde, Fla./Montverde). The No. 3-ranked junior point guard (for now) gave us a lot to think about regarding his ranking.
“I’ve seen all the best point guards and I’ve not seen anyone do what he did,” marveled LaLumiere coach Alan Huss. “He busted people up.”
Hill’s spirited play was equal parts speed and physicality mixed with acrobatic finishes and sweet assists. In a word: wow. Tip of the cap, Billy Donovan. Here’s your next superstar.