Montverde Academy is hosting their annual Invitational Tournament, known as the MAIT, this weekend. It features a trio of high level out-of-state teams taking on Montverde and a pair of powerhouse in-state teams. St. Rita’s out of Chicago and Owyhee out of Idaho received byes into the semi-finals. The first round games feature Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy taking on the host Montverde Eagles while the first game of the event was Durango out of Las Vegas going up against Miami Riviera Prep.
Duragno got on the board first with a driving bucket from 6’6 junior Taj Degourville. Riviera Prep answered with a pair of free throws from 6’4 sophomore Dante Allen. The teams continued to go back and forth and Riviera Prep took its first lead after a steal and score by 6’6 senior Joachim Ametepe to make the score 7-6. Durango took the lead back on its next possession with a driving bucket from Mason Brown, a 6’3 sophomore. Durango would hold a 10-9 lead at the five minute mark of the quarter but Riviera Prep’s 6’2 senior Cooper Josefsburg hit a three and Allen put back a miss to give Riviera Prep a 14-10 advantage. Durango was quick to tie the game with a free throw from 6’3 sophomore Colton Knoll and a three from Degourville, making the score 14-14 with just over two minutes to play in the first. Riviera Prep reeled off an 8-0 run as 6’0 eighth grader Myles Fuentes dropped in a three, Allen converted a three-point play and Ametepe scored on the break. Tylen Riley, a 6’4 senior for Durango, scored on a drive just before the end of the quarter to make it a six-point game, 22-16.
Mason Fuentes, a 6’0 freshman for Riviera Prep, opened the second quarter scoring to put his team up eight, but Durango responded with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 24-24 at the 6:39 mark. Riviera Prep scored inside to take back the lead but a free throw and transition basket by Riley of Durango and a pair of free throws after a steal from 6’1 sophomore Jevon Yapi gave the Trailblazers a 29-26 lead with 4:22 left in the half. However, that would be the last points of the quarter for Durango as the Bulldogs finished out the period with a putback and bucket inside from 7’0 sophomore Gustavo Guimaraes, a three from Myles Fuentes and a bucket inside just before the horn from Allen. At the break, Riviera Prep led by six, 35-29.
Durango was quick to get back in the contest to start the third quarter as Degourville scored on a putback of his own miss and Riley hit one of two free throws to get the Trailblazers to within three at 35-32. The good times didn’t last long for Durango as Riviera Prep got hot and ripped off a 7-0 run , five of those from Allen, to go up 42-32 with 2:35 left in the third, forcing a Durango timeout. The Trailblazers scored out of the break, but it didn’t break Riviera Prep’s momentum. They finished the quarter with a 9-3 run, the last on a putback from Ametepe, to lead by fourteen, 51-37, going into the final quarter.
Durango could not find a way to get stops and scores in the fourth period and Riviera Prep continued to grow its lead. The Bulldogs reached their largest margin of twenty-four points on a pair of free throws from 6’7 sophomore Peter Okechukwu. At that point, Riviera Prep pulled its starters and Durango was able to get the margin down to eighteen with the final score of 68-50.
Allen of Riviera Prep led the Bulldogs with 18 points and almost delivered a triple-double with 15 rebounds and 8 assists. Myles Fuentes finished with 16 points and Ametepe added 13 points. As a whole, Riviera Prep shot 54% from the field overall and 43% (6-14) from deep.
For Durango, Riley had a team-high 17 points while Yapi added 14 points.
Riviera Prep advances to face Chicago St. Rita while Durango will play Westminster Academy which fell to Montverde Academy in a later contest.