The record books will show that Montverde (FL) Academy captured the championship of the 35th Annual Beach Ball Classic. But the excitement of the national high school basketball tournament ensured that all involved with the event were winners - from the fans in the stands at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center to the teams and guests staying at the Beakers Resort.
Proudly serving as the host resort for the 16 teams from all over the country, the Breakers was also the scene for parents, fans and even college coaches who came to scout some of the top talent in the nation. In addition to seeing some great competition on the court, Beach Ball Classic participants also had a great time staying and playing at the Breakers.
But the high-flying hoops action took place a few blocks away at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center's Lambo Arena on Dec. 26-31, capped by the championship game on New Year's Eve in front of a packed house. Montverde, the No. 2-ranked team in the country, according to USA Today, held off a late comeback bid by St. John's Prep (Washington, DC) for a 52-48 victory.
After dominating their earlier games, Montverde led by as many as 17 points in the second half of the title game before St. John's scored 16 unanswered points to cut the deficit to one. A go-ahead 3-point attempt by St. John's went in and out and Montverde was able to preserve the win at the foul line in one of the most thrilling title games in Beach Ball history.
Montverde's Micah Potter scored a game-high 19 points and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, while teammate RJ Barrett was named to the all-tournament team. St. John's Anthony Cowan was named the Most Outstanding Player and teammates Thomas Schmock and Jeffrey Dowtin were respectively presented with the Hustle Award and the Defensive Award.
The rest of the all-tournament team included Spencer Freedman, Mater Dei (CA); Jacolby Long and Curtis Haygood, Mustang (OK); Elijah Cuffeee, Poca (WV); TJ Gibbs, Seton Hall Prep (NJ); Drue Drinnon, East Jackson (GA); Tony Bradley, Bartow (FL); Trey McBride, Moeller (OH); JJ Rhymes, Shadow Mountain (AZ); and Jalek Felton of nearby Mullins (SC), who had a historic performance that will take its place in the annals of Beach Ball Classic history.
Felton broke the Beach Ball Classic record for a single-game scoring performance with 55 points, including another record nine 3-pointers, in a win over Poca (WV) that advanced Mullins to the consolation bracket championship game. But the Auctioneers were no match for Mustang (OK) in the consolation championship game in an 80-67 victory for the Broncos.
Other final day winners included Seton Hall Prep (NJ), which rallied past Shadow Mountain (AZ) to claim the third-place game with a 77-67 win; and Moeller (OH) shocked nationally ranked Mater Dei (CA) in the fifth-place game with a 43-40 victory. Local teams Myrtle Beach, Socastee, St. James and Christian Academy also got some valuable experience against some of the top teams and talent in the nation.
In addition to the great games and performances, players, coaches and fans also got to experience the thrill of spending a week on the Myrtle Beach oceanfront at Breakers Resort. Unseasonably warm temperatures saw several days when guests were able to spend time on the beach and take a dip in the pools of the indoor and outdoor water facilities. From the hotel to the hardwood, the 35th Annual Beach Ball Classic was another can’t-miss way to spend the final week of 2015. Now it’s time to make your plans to join us in 2016.