Montverde and Salmen Win Titles at Hoops Tourney park
The Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Basketball Classic had the dream match-up for both its boys' and girls' championship games on Saturday evening at the Alario Center. In the boys' title match, two-time defending national champion Montverde Academy from Florida defeated two-time defending tournament champion Riverside Academy, 92-75. Defending girls' champion Salmen High School from Slidell, La., earned its second title by delivering the first loss of the season to a strong Warren Easton High squad, 56-44.
Riverside gave the powerhouse Eagles a run, holding the nation's top-rated player in check for the first half and only trailed 38-33 at the break. Simmons began to heat up in the third quarter, but the Rebels remained close. They were behind 63-57 as time wound down in the third, but Simmons drilled a half-court buzzer-beater to push the margin to nine, capping a 16-point stanza for the LSU signee. He added another 14 points in the fourth quarter to easily collected tourney MVP honors after tallying 32.3 points in his team's three victories.
Riverside had strong games from Von Julien (21 points) and Malik Crowfield (17 points), while Herb McGee had 15 points and Jordan Andrews scored 12. Marqez Lechter-Ellis added 18 points for the visitors while Marcel Ponitka scored 14.
In the girls' bracket, Salmen's Kalani Brown turned in another tremendous performance, winning her second straight tournament MVP honor. The 6-6 senior tallied 21 points, 16 rebounds in two blocks as the Spartans held off Easton, 56-44. In the girls' semifinals on Saturday morning, Kalani Brown piled up 26 points and 18 rebounds to lead Salmen to a 52-46 victory over Destrehan. Sabrina Banks tallied 16 points and 10 boards in Easton's semifinal victory over Mt. Carmel.
Girls' Semifinals, Saturday, Jan. 10:
Salmen def. Destrehan, 52-46 (Standout: Kalani Brown, 26 pts, 18 rebs) | NOLA.com Story
Warren Easton def. Mt. Carmel, 58-43 (Standout: Sabrina Banks, 16 pts, 10 rebs) | NOLA.com Story