Road Report: Alabi Leads Montverde

RICHMOND, Va. – Seniors Solomon Alabi and Gary Clark were in search of a claim to the mythical high school national championship. Standing in their way was Ed Davis and Benedictine. The teams hooked up in a beauty!

What better way to cap a perfect 30-0 season than to win your last game in front of 1,800 people rooting for the opposing team? On Saturday night at Benedictine High School, Kevin Sutton's Montverde Academy did just that as it staved off a feisty 24-2 Benedictine squad 47-44.

Montverde was paced by a pair of 3-pointers from Gary Clark in the second half – his forte – but it was his 4-for-4 from the line in the closing minute that simply sealed the deal.

"I told Gary that the second half is always Gary's time," Sutton said. "He leads us in free throw shooting at 85% and he's also a 43% 3-point shooter. He stepped up and hit the shots that he's supposed to take for our team.

"He's done it all year long. Gary last year as a junior won the national championship and now this year as a senior won the national championship." Let's also include the fact that Clark was clutch with Wake Forest's Skip Prosser and Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg in the stands. Plus, Vanderbilt's Kevin Stallings and two assistants made the trip.

Clark, according to his coach, will visit Virginia Tech (March 3) and Wake Forest on back-to-back weekends. Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Georgia are also in the picture.

In order for Clark to do his thing late, Montverde needed a spark coming out of the locker room to offset Benedictine's Ed Davis. While Montverde rotated no less than 5 guys – including many with size – on him in the first half, Davis did his thing.

Though Montverde led 20-18 at the half, Davis had already posted 9 points (4-for-5 FG), 4 rebounds and 5 blocks. He would end the game with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 6 blocks. As important as his first half numbers were he was drawing fouls and one man in particular, Solomon Alabi. The Florida State signee found a seat next to Sutton for a good portion of the half.

Davis Earned MVP

Alabi traded his spot on the bench for a more crucial second half role. He was close to dominant in the third quarter and was the pivotal player for Montverde up until the final minute when Clark (14 points, 3-11 FG, 6-6 FT) sealed it.

Alabi, a center, used his power to bull through Davis, a power forward, and that was huge in setting the second half tone. Like chopping wood, Alabi and his counterparts ran body after body at Davis, trying to wear him down. To Davis' credit, he was a gamer and played an outstanding contest.

Davis was named MVP for his club and Alabi earned the honor for Montverde. Alabi finished with 18 points on 8-for-9 from the field to go with 7 boards.

"He got off to a great start. I really believe had he not picked up that reaching foul (in the first half) he was going to go and have a big game," Sutton said. "I think he could have potentially had that type of offensive game in the first half like he did in the second half."

So there you have it – a perfect season for Montverde and a claim to the national title. Before the game began, the Benedictine student section chanted "Back To Disney World!" Well, they're headed that way and the dream season is nothing less than magical.

Head Coaches In The Gym – Skip Prosser, Wake Forest; Seth Greenberg, Virginia Tech; Bobby Collins, Winston-Salem State; Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt; Oliver Purnell, Clemson.

Assistant Coaches In The Gym – Georgetown, Vanderbilt, Miami, Connecticut, William & Mary, West Virginia.

We asked Davis who was recruiting him the hardest and he was quick to answer: "Virginia." Davis played this game with a mouthpiece to protect the 6 stitches he took in his mount courtesy an elbow earlier in the week. … Montverde point guard Dashan Harris is receiving early interest from Southern Cal, Indiana, Arizona, Arkansas and California. … Benedictine's two losses this year have come at the hands of Montverde and Oak Hill. Great season! …

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