GEICO Nationals Recap
By: Steven Pham
Photos by: Kobi Russom
Wichita, KS. - #1 seed Sunrise Christian Academy came up short against #8 seed Prolific Prep 59-56. This was not the result we were hoping for but it was still a magnificent season for Sunrise, with many memories and positives to take away from this year’s team.
Prolific pulled off an unbelievable upset while short-handed. They were without their two McDonald's All-Americans; M.J. Rice and Adem Bona. It was a tight battle from start to finish but Prolific ultimately made more winning plays down the stretch.
Sunrise started the first half strong with Scotty Middleton stepping up big with a team-high 8 points at the half. Sunrise led by 9 points in the first half before letting the lead slip in the third quarter. Mark Mitchell played well the whole game and had 7 points at the half. Gradey Dick was neutralized all game long, could not get any separation, and could not get any foul calls.
Sunrise got hammered on the glass and got outrebounded 36-23. Prolific took advantage of those extra possessions and 15 second-chance points. Prolific was the more physical team all game long and Mor Seck led the way inside. He had 5 of Prolific’s 9 blocks, had 5 rebounds, and caused a ton of disruption inside that gave his teammates the chance at getting the offensive rebounds. He was the X-factor and a huge reason why Prolific pulled off the upset.
The leader of the short-handed group was Tre White (ranked #34 on ESPN’s Top 100 Class of 2022). He had to step up for Prolific and had a fantastic game on both ends. He finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal. He hit huge shots down the stretch, defended Dick the whole game, and assisted on the game-winning three-point shot from sophomore Zion Sensely.
The other hero for Prolific was Jordan Pope. He is a tremendous shooter with great range and stepped up huge for Prolific. He had a game-high 23 points (5-12 from three), 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. The combination of White, Pope, and Seck catapulted this upset and allowed them to move onto the semifinals against Link Academy.
Sunrise shot 39% from the field, 31% from three, and went 11-14 (78%) from FT. Sunrise had 23 total rebounds, 17 defensive, and 6 offensive. Sunrise had 7 assists and 7 steals. Sunrise’s bench outscored Prolific’s bench 17-7.
Middleton finished with a team-high 16 points on 5-8 shooting (4-4 from three), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. Mitchell had 15 points on 7-12 shooting, 8 rebounds, and an assist. Layden Blocker had 9 points off the bench on 2-6 shooting (5-5 from FT) and 3 rebounds. Bobi Klintman had 6 points off the bench on 3-5 shooting, a rebound, an assist, and a steal.
Thank you to the senior class of 2022 for all they have done this season for the program and best of luck in college!!! Thank you to all the players and coaches for an incredible season of reaching new heights and thank you to all the fans for the endless love and support all season long. Until next season, #RISEUP.
GEICO Nationals Results
On the other side of the bracket, #2 seed IMG Academy took down #7 seed La Lumiere 76-51, and #3 seed Montverde Academy beat #6 AZ Compass 70-63 in the quarterfinals. On our side of the bracket, #4 seed Link Academy took care of business against #5 seed Oak Hill 81-67.
In the semifinals, Montverde matched up against IMG for the third time this season and Montverde got the best of IMG in round three 62-57 to move onto the finals. Link faced Prolific and won 60-53 to meet Montverde in the finals.
In the finals, first-year program Link kept up with Montverde for a majority of the game but Montverde eventually pulled away to secure their seventh GEICO Nationals Championship. Congrats to Montverde for playing their best basketball during the right time of the season and congrats to all the teams that made it to GEICO and the fabulous season they all had!!!
Sunrise is hosting basketball camps this April for kids ages 6-14. There will be six sessions for the camps; April 12th, 14th, 19th, 21st, 26th, and 28th. All sessions are from 6-8 p.m. The camps are $50 for Sunrise students and $80 for non-Sunrise students and the fee covers all six sessions.
These camps give young kids a chance to learn and compete with the top high school players across the country like Dick, Mitchell, and the rest of the team. It gives kids and parents an inside look at some of the behind-the-scenes action at Sunrise, gives kids a chance to gain an edge on the competition and show off their talent. If you, your kids, or someone you know is interested in attending our camps, sign up here.
Sunrise basketball gear is still available! Get your Sunrise gear and support the team before the season concludes!!! To check out our store, click here.