It’s the Championship Game for the City of Palms Classic! Oak Hill and Montverde met the first weekend of December with Montverde winning handily. Oak Hill looks like a different team that went 0-3 that first weekend at the NIBC. Can they take down the Eagles?
Dariq Whitehead of Montverde hit one of two free throws to open the scoring. A putback by Oak Hill’s Christian Reeves gave the Warriors the lead but then Malik Reneau of Montverde put back a miss and scored inside to put Montverde up 5-2. A bucket by Oak Hill was offset by one for the Eagles but then Oak Hill got two free throws from Chris Livingston and a free throw from Caleb Foster to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:15 left in the quarter. A three from Jalen Hood-Schifino and a long two from Dillon Mitchell gave Montverde a 12-7 advantage. Livingston scored for Oak Hill but that was offset by another Mitchell bucket. Judah Mintz of Oak Hill scored on a drive just before the buzzer to pull Oak Hill within three at 14-11.
A drive and score by Mintz got the Warriors back to within one but Mitchell put back a miss for Montverde to keep the margin at three. A three from Mintz tied the game at 16-16. Derrick Queen scored inside for Montverde but Mintz struck again with a three to give Oak Hill a 19-18 lead. It didn’t last long as Kwame Evans hit two free throws and Mitchell put back a miss to put Montverde on top 22-19 with just under three minutes until the half. Oak Hill drew within one after Mintz scored in transition, but a bucket inside from Montverde’s Vince Iwuchukwu and a transition dunk by Whitehead made the halftime score 26-21 in favor of the Eagles.
Montverde pushed its margin to nine to open the third quarter after Reneau scored inside and Mitchell put back a miss to make the score 30-21. Oak Hill responded with a three from Livingston and a driving score to get to within four. Mitchell dunked one home for Montverde to return the margin to six. From there the teams would trade baskets for a while. With 2:21 left in the third and Montverde up 38-32, Foster of Oak Hill hit a pair of free throws and Jeremy Gregory hit a mid-range jumper to get Oak Hill to within two at 38-36. Queen scored inside for Montverde but a pair of free throws from Foster hit two free throws to keep within two points. Whitehead of Montverde drew a foul three seconds before the quarter expired. He hit one of two free throws to make the score 41-38 with one period left to play.
Oak Hill came alive at the start of the fourth, reeling off eight straight points as Mintz scored a putback and a free throw, Livingston hit a three and Mintz capped off the run with a score at the rim. Now Oak Hill had command at 46-41 with just under six minutes to play. Montverde came right back with a 7-0 run, capped off by a dunk in transition to make the score 48-46 in favor of the Eagles with 3:30 left. Oak Hill tied the score with a mid-range jumper from Mintz. Whitehead responded with a three for Montverde only two have Mintz trim the margin to one at 51-50. The teams traded two pointers and then with under a minute to play things got interesting. With thirty-seconds to play, Mitchell threw down a lob to put the Eagles up 55-52. Oak Hill missed two free throws on their next possession and now needed to foul to stop the clock. With 18 seconds left, Montverde stepped to the line for a one-and-one. It was missed but an Oak Hill and Montverde player both had possession. The jump ball arrow pointed to Montverde and they got the ball back. Once again, Oak Hill fouled. Once again Monteverde missed the front end. However the ball went out of bounds off Oak Hill and Montverde retained possession. This time, Oak Hill fouled Hood-Schifino. This time he knocked down both to give Montverde a 57-52 lead. Oak Hill’s Foster drained a deep three with nine seconds left to get within two but Hood-Schifino closed the door with a pair of free throws. Oak Hill missed a three and fouled Whitehead with a second to play. He connected on one of two to make the final score 60-55 in favor of Montverde.
Dillon Mitchell led Montverde with 16 points and was named tournament MVP. Both Whitehead and Reneau finished with 12 points each and Hood-Schifino added 10 points.
Oak Hill was paced by Mintz with a game-high 22 points. Both Foster and Livingston finished with 10 points each.