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Game Recap: IMG NIBC Invitational

By: Steven Pham 

Photos by: Shane Zisk

Wichita, KS. - #15 Sunrise flies back home 14-6 after splitting the two games in Bradenton, FL. Sunrise falls to #6 IMG Academy 59-50 but bounced back against Wasatch Academy with a 73-61 win. 

IMG Game Takeaways

This was a game that Sunrise let slip away from them. This game was similar to the first meeting between these two teams. It was a back-and-forth game in the first half. Sunrise went on a 19-2 run in the third quarter and led by as many as 10 before Blue Cain’s takeover. 

In their first meeting, Cain played tremendous in the first half but cooled off in the second half. In this game, he was dominant from start to finish and could not be denied. He kept IMG in this game and single-handedly took over in the fourth quarter and led them to victory. Cain had 18 points in the second half and 11 of them were in the fourth. 

Cain might have led his team to victory, but the momentum-changing play was Amari Allen’s and-1 in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Allen’s and-1 gave IMG the lead again and he followed it up with a three-pointer to push that lead to five. IMG proceeded to ice out the game at the FT line. 

Sunrise struggled offensively and scored a season-low 50 points against IMG. The whole team could not buy a basket and could not put IMG away in the third quarter. Sunrise was able to pull away in the third quarter in their first meeting and that was the difference in this game. 

Mikel Brown played his best basketball of the season this past weekend in Florida. He led the team with 13 points off the bench against IMG. He was aggressive in finding his shot, while also setting his teammates up. Although it came in a loss, Brown carried it over to their next game. 

Game Stats 

Sunrise shot 19-45 (42%) from the field, 6-20 (30%) from three, and went 6-10 (60%) from the FT line. Sunrise had 25 total rebounds, 5 offensive and 20 defensive. They had 12 assists on 19 made FGs, 6 blocks, and 5 steals. 

Player Stats

Brown had a team-high 13 points on 5-9 (55%) shooting, 1 rebound, 4 assists, and a steal. Matas Buzelis had 10 points on 4-12 (33%) shooting, 5 rebounds, 1 block, and a steal. 

Wasatch Game Takeaways 

Sunrise came out with an aggressive mindset on both ends of the court and took an early 11-0 lead in the opening minutes. Wasatch settled in and went on their own 11-0 run to bring the game back. From there, it became a back-and-forth match between these two teams. 

Sunrise was able to get Buzelis and Scotty Middleton going early and they were on fire all game long. Buzelis had 12 of his 24 points in the first half and Middleton had 11 of his 19 points in the first half. 

For Wasatch, Collin Murray-Boyles has been dominating the NIBC recently and continued his dominance in this game. He had 12 of his 26 points in the first half. His running mate R.J. Jones made timely plays and shots down the stretch to keep Wasatch in the game. He finished with 13 points and 5 assists. 

Every time it looked like Sunrise or Wasatch was going on a run to blow the lead open, the opposing team would respond and bring the game close again. Sunrise was able to escape another tight game and pull away in the fourth quarter. 

Brown played a fantastic second half and helped Sunrise close out this game. He stepped up off the bench and hit timely shots and scored all 12 of his points in the second half (8 in the third quarter). He also got his teammates involved with a game-high 6 assists. 

Sunrise played their best offensive game of the season in the NIBC with 73 points on 60% shooting from the field. Buzelis, Middleton, and Brown all stepped up and led the way in a must-win game. 

Game Stats 

Sunrise shot 26-43 (60%), 11-24 (45%) from three, and went 10-13 (76%) from the FT line. Sunrise had 23 total rebounds, 5 offensive, and 18 defensive. They had 18 assists on 26 made shots, 5 blocks, and 9 steals. 

Player Stats

Buzelis had a team-high 24 points on an efficient 9-12 shooting (75%) and went 4-5 (80%) from three. He also had 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks, and 3 steals. Middleton continued his efficient shooting season with 19 points on 8-9 (88%) shooting, 5 rebounds, and a steal. Brown had 12 points off the bench on 4-8 (50%) shooting, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, and a steal. 

Montverde officially secures the NIBC title after IMG’s loss to Wasatch Academy. Sunrise is currently 5th in the standings with a 6-4 conference record. Sunrise has two more conference games against Long Island Lutheran and La Lumiere in South Carolina to close out their season. 

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