The first full day of the Montverde Academy Invitational Tournament (MAIT) kicked off with a consolation round game between Durango out of Las Vegas and Westminster Academy from Fort Lauderdale. Both teams suffered double-digit losses in the first round to Riviera Prep and Montverde Academy respectively, so this is a big bounce back game for both teams. No one wants to leave here 0-2.
Jaylen Carey, a 6’9 senior, got Westminster on the board first with bucket inside. It didn’t take long for Durango to match it with a score in transition. The teams would continue to trade buckets until with the score tied at 5-5, Westminster ripped off six straight as 6’6 sophomore Dwayne Wimbley scored inside and 6’8 freshman Alex Constanza scored on a drive and then had a steal and score on the next possession to make it 11-5 with just under five minutes to go in the first. Five straight points from Durango’s 6’5 senior Taj Degourville brought Durango back to within one. Once again, Westminster extended its lead to 17-12 with 2:35 to go but Durango again got to within one. A putback by Wimbley of Westminster with six seconds left in the quarter gave the Lions a 19-16 advantage.
Durango opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run behind a pair of threes and a putback to lead 24-19 at the 5:13 mark. Westminster drew to within in one after a bucket from 6’6 junior Jeremiah Police and one more from Constanza. Durango pushed its lead to five at 29-24 with 2:47 to play on a three from 6’2 sophomore Mason Brown and a driving bucket from 6’4 senior Tylen Riley. Westminster regrouped and closed out the quarter strong. Alex Lloyd, a 6’4 sophomore, connected on a free throw and later hit a floater while Wimbley scored twice in transition, the last on a breakaway dunk after a steal with twelve seconds left to give Westminster a 30-29 lead at the break.
The third quarter would prove to be just as competitive as the first two. Durango got the first lead on a three from Brown, but Westminster responded with a three from 6’0 freshman Randy Livingston and a lob dunk from Wimbley to lead 35-32. Durango’s Riley responded with a pair of buckets to give the Trailblazers back the lead at 36-35. Now it was Westminster’s turn to grab a lead with four points in succession. Durango drew to within one with a bucket but a Wimbley bucket gave Westminster a 41-38 lead with three minutes remaining in the quarter. A three-point play by 6’1 sophomore Colton Knoll of Durango tied the game at 41-41. Each team would score one more bucket to tie the score at 43-43 with one quarter remaining.
Durango drew first blood, but a 9-2 run from that point gave Westminster a 52-47 lead with 5:06 to play. Durango responded just as before and Brown eventually tied the score at 52-52 with just under four minutes to play. Moving forward, a Wimbley put back tied the game at 56-56 with 1:41 left to play. Jevon Yapi, a 6’2 sophomore for Durango gave them the lead on a baseline drive and then after an ill-advised three from Westminster, Knoll scored for Durango to give them a 60-56 lead. After a Durango timeout, Westminster tried another three and it was off target. Yapi got loose in transition for Durango and was fouled by Carey, his fifth foul. Yapi hit both free throws to make the score 62-56 with only forty seconds to play. That six-point margin would stand until Livingston hit a three to chop it half with ten seconds left and give Westminster life. The Lions were forced to foul, and Riley nailed both free throws for Durango. Westminster would not be able to get a good look and Durango came away with a tough win in a game that had 11 lead changes and 10 ties, 66-61.
Riley led Durango with 24 points while Knoll added 11 points.
Wimbley of Westminster paced the Lions with 20 points while Carey had 13 points and Lloyd finished with 12 points.