44th Annual Kingdom of the Sun
Boys Basketball at Vanguard HS (Ocala, FL)
All-tournament team (selected by Richard Burton)
David Viti, Buford (GA)
Donnell Nixon, Buford (GA)
Dantwan Grimes, Vanguard (Ocala)
Derrick Brown, Vanguard (Ocala)
Christian Miller-Cardwell, Gainesville
Nassir Little, Orlando Christian Prep
Keyshawn Bryant, Winter Haven
Zach Scott, Westminster Academy (Ft. Lauderdale)
Damien Gordon, Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton)
Elijah Weaver, Rockledge
MVP – Marcus Watson, Buford (GA)
Mr. Hustle award – Jalen Scott, Vanguard (Ocala)
A total of 20 games were video streamed ‘live’ online. They are available for replay as part of your $9.95 NFHS Network subscription. Click here to support Vanguard (Ocala) and watch.
*Indicates video broadcast
Saturday, Dec. 30
5th-Place – Orlando Christian Prep 57, Gainesville 45* – University of North Carolina signee Nassir Little scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed 19 rebounds as the defending 3A state champions rallied from a 12-point deficit to knock off 7A #4 Gainesville (10-4). University of Buffalo signee Ronaldo Segu added 10 for the Warriors (7-4), while the Hurricanes were led by Dallas Tealer with 17 points.
Consolation Championship – Westminster Academy (Ft. Lauderdale) 75, Winter Haven 62* – Junior Chase Johnston led four players in double figures as the defending 4A state champions defeated the 8A Blue Devils (7-5). Sophomore Dudley Blackwell added 15 points for the Lions (7-5), followed by Florida Gulf Coast commit Zach Scott (14) and junior Sam Griffin (13). Senior Keyshawn Bryant led Winter Haven with 21 points, followed by senior Dorian James (UNF) with 17.
3rd-Place – Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton) 84, Rockledge 79* – Damien Gordon (Eckerd College) led six players in double figures with 18 points as the Mustangs (8-3) defeated the Raiders (10-2). All five starters reached double-digits, while sophomore Christian Shaneyfelt came off the bench to add 11. Junior Joshua Young (16), senior Jack Kelley (13), senior Evan Spiller (11), and sophomore Keon Buckley (10) helped lead the defending 8A state semifinalists. Elijah Weaver, a USC commit, led the Raiders (10-2) with 28 points, while junior D.J. Richardson added 17 off the bench.
Championship – Buford (GA) 75, Vanguard (Ocala) 54* – Senior David Viti (Georgia Southern) scored a game-high 25 points, including five 3-pointers, and tournament MVP Marcus Watson (103 total points) scored 17 as the Wolves (10-2) won the Peach State’s first Kingdom tournament title since 2007. Junior Donell Nixon added 18 for Buford, the defending 5A state champions from Georgia. They jumped out to a 23-7 lead in the opening quarter and it extended it to 28 at the end of the third quarter. Junior Dantwan Grimes led the Knights (7-5), who were playing in their first Kingdom of the Sun championship game since 1993, with 19 points.
*Indicates Video broadcasts
Friday, Dec. 29
Stranahan (Ft. Lauderdale) 38, North Marion (Citra) 37 – Sophomore Inady Legiste hit an 8-foot baseline jumper at the buzzer as the Dragons (8-2) stunned the Colts (6-5)
Wildwood 68, Victory Christian Academy (Lakeland) 61 – Senior Darion Wilson led the Wildcats (9-3) to their first win in the tournament
Gainesville 68, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (MD) 62 – Senior Christian Miller-Cardwell scored 10 of his 26 in the final quarter as the ‘Canes advanced to the 5th-place game. Senior Dallas Tealer added 12 for GHS (10-3). Senior William Miller led three players in double figures for Mount Carmel (6-8) with 15 points. Senior Jordon Jones had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, senior Rasheed Brown added 14 points.
Orlando Christian Prep 67, Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville) 40 – The defending FHSAA Class 3A state champions bounce back. OCP (6-4) will play Class 7A GHS for 5th-place on Saturday at noon.
Winter Haven 65, Apopka 43* – Keyshawn Bryant led three Winter Haven players in double figures with 16 points. Dorian James added 13 points and Timothy Lowery 11 for the Blue Devils. Jai Clark led Apopka with 8 points and Rodney Lubin had 7 points for the Blue Darters.
Westminster Academy (Ft. Lauderdale) 68, The Vanguard School (Lake Wales) 36* – Anthony Atkinson and Sam Griffin led the Lions with 16 points apiece, with Zach Scott also in double figures with 10 points. The Panthers were led by Kai Robinson with 8 points and Andre Blake with 7.
Vanguard (Ocala) 64, Rockledge 62* – The Knights (7-4) rallied from 19 points down, the 2nd largest comeback in Kingdom history, to stun the Raiders, who led 49-30 in the third quarter. Vanguard, which was led by junior Dantwan Grimes’ game-high 21 points, advanced to its first championship game since 1993. Junior D.J. Richardson scored 19 points off the bench to lead the Raiders (10-1), who lost their first game of the season.
Buford (GA) 77, Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton) 64* – Junior Marcus Watson (offers from Georgia, Tennessee, Clemson and Florida, among others) scored 11 of his game-high 20 points in the first half, and senior David Viti (Georgia Southern commit) scored 17 as the defending 5A champions from Georgia advanced to the title game. Senior Damien Gordon (Eckerd College) led the Class 8A No. 6 Mustangs (7-3) with 17 points.
Thursday, Dec. 28
Winter Haven 76, Wildwood 68 – Senior Keyshawn Bryant led all scorers with 26 points for the Class 8A Blue Devils (6-4), while Timothy Lowery added 20. Sophomore Marcus Niblack had 25 points & senior Darion Wilson had 16 for the Wildcats (8-3).
Apopka 56, Victory Christian Academy (Lakeland) 55 – Senior Jai Clark led the Blue Darters with 19 points.
The Vanguard School (Lake Wales) 58, North Marion (Citra) 35 – Senior Kyrillos Youssef scored 17 points to lead the Panthers (4-6) to their first tournament win. North Marion really struggled shooting the ball. According to the Ocala Star-Banner, the Colts (6-4) missed 42 of 53 shots in the game and were 2-of-24 from three-point range
Westminster Academy (Ft. Lauderdale) 84, Stranahan (Ft. Lauderdale) 67 – It was a team effort for the defending 4A state champions as four players scored in double figures in this Broward County showdown. Florida Gulf Coast commit Zach Scott led the way with 33 points. He added four assists, seven rebounds, four blocks, and two steals. Sophomore Dudley Blackwell just missed a triple-double with 19 points, eight assists, and nine rebounds to help the Lions (5-5) even their record.
Buford (GA) 73, Gainesville 72* – Gainesville (9-3) led from the opening basket of the game until the final minute, but Buford (GA) got a basket from junior Marcus Watson with 16 seconds left to slip past the Purple Hurricanes and into Friday night’s semifinals. Gainesville was hot from the start, leading 28-22 at the end of the first quarter and 42-32 over the defending Georgia 5A champion Wolves, who are ranked #2 in 5A once again this year. But Buford (9-2) chipped away, and eventually took the lead in the final minute. Gainesville senior forward Christian Miller-Cardwell, who led the Purple Hurricanes with 14 points, hit a three pointer with 35 seconds left to put GHS back up 72-71. But Watson, who led Buford with 34 points after a 32 point outing in a win over Winter Haven on Wednesday, scored on a putback for the winning points for the Wolves. David Viti added 13 points and Alex Jones 11 for Buford, who will play Lakewood Ranch (St. Petersburg) in Friday night’s 9 p.m. semifinal. Three other Gainesville players joined Miller-Cardwell in double figures, with senior Diamond Smith adding 12 points, and senior Josh Dudley and junior J’len Wilson chipping in 11.
Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton) 74, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (MD) 63* – Mount Carmel led by as many as 13 points and led 24-13 at the end of the opening period. But the Mustangs (8-2) came storming back, outscoring the Cougars 41-19 in the middle two quarters and cruised to the semifinals on Friday night at 9 p.m. against Buford (GA). Four players scored in double figures for Lakewood Ranch, led by senior Damien Gordon, who scored 19 points after a scoreless first quarter. Senior Evan Spiller added 18, including 10 points in the fourth quarter, and sophomore Kenny Buckley chipped in 15 while sophomore Christian Shaneyfeld contributed 10 points off the bench for the Mustangs. Senior William Miller led Mount Carmel (6-7) with 22 points, with senior Jordan Jones adding 17 and sophomore Dominic Carrington also in double figures with 15 points.
Vanguard (Ocala) 53, Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville) 50* – The Knights led most of the game on their homecourt, but had to rally past and then hold off Bishop Snyder in the fourth quarter to advance to the semifinals of the Kingdom for the second straight year. Vanguard led 32-22 at the half and 40-33 over the Cardinals (5-6) going into the fourth quarter. But Bishop Snyder caught fire early in the final period, going on an 8-0 run to take a 41-40 lead with 5 minutes left. The game see-sawed back and forth from there, but Blake Porter’s two free throws with 17 seconds remaining putting the Knights (6-4) ahead for good. Porter hit one-of-two from the line, giving Bishop Snyder a final chance to tie the game. But Gyasi Powell was short on a three-pointer at the buzzer and Vanguard moved on the semifinals Friday night against Rockledge at 7:30 p.m. Junior Derek Brown and junior Dantwan Grimes led Vanguard with 14 points apiece. Bishop Snyder, which played the entire second half with injured super sophomore Corey Walker, was led by senior Curtis Bailey with 15 points, 11 of those in the fourth quarter.
Rockledge 56, Orlando Christian Prep 53 (OT)* – Rockledge never led in the game until the final minute of overtime, but survived defending 3A state champion Orlando Christian Prep to stay undefeated and move on to the semifinals on Friday night. Senior guard and Southern Cal signee Elijah Weaver got off to a slow start with only four points in the first half, but ended up with 24 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter as Rockledge (10-0) rallied from a 41-36 deficit heading into the fourth quarter and tied the game at 50 apiece heading into overtime. In the overtime period the Raiders only had one basket from Carlos Jones and four free throws from Weaver, but that was enough as the Warriors (5-4) could only manage a basket and a free throw from senior Nassir Little. UNC signee Little only scored four points in the first half, but ended up leading OCP with 19 points. Senior Ronaldo Segu added 14, and senior Dejuan Lockett was also in double figures with 12 points, but most of those points came in the first quarter as the Warriors led 19-9 after the opening period. But Rockledge whittled the deficit down, and finally pulled away just enough to get the win and now face Vanguard (Ocala) on their home court on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in the semifinals.
Wednesday, Dec. 27
Gainesville 59, Wildwood 55* – GHS, ranked 4th in Class 7A according to MaxPreps, d. 1A #1 Wildwood to advance to the winners’ bracket. Senior Dallas Tealer had 20 and senior Christian Miller-Cardwell scored nine of his 12 points in the first half as the Hurricanes (9-2) won their 6th straight. Junior J’len Wilson added eight. Senior Darion Wilson (20) and sophomore Marcus Niblack (18) led the Wildcats (8-2).
Buford (GA) 83, Winter Haven 64* – Buford is the No. 2 team in Class 5A in Georgia. They improved to 7-2 with an 83-64 win against Florida’s Class 8A team, Winter Haven. They have one of the top players in the country – junior Marcus Watson (Georgia, Tennessee, Clemson & Florida offers). He is the No. 6 player in Georgia and 103rd nationally. He scored 32 points yesterday! Senior David Viti, who is headed to Georgia Southern, added 16. Buford went 29-2 last year and won the 5A state title in Georgia. Senior Keyshawn Bryant (offers from Kansas State, South Florida, FGCU, & Georgia, among others) led the Blue Devils (5-4) with 23 points.
Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton) 75, Victory Christian Academy (Lakeland) 57* – Christian Shaneyfelt led Lakewood Ranch with 18 points off the bench against Class 2A #9 Victory Christian Academy (Lakeland). Senior Jack Kelley added 15, junior Joshua Young had 13, while senior Darrien Gordon (Eckerd College signee) and sophomore Keon Buckley had nine points apiece for the Mustangs (6-2), who were in the Class 8A Final Four last year (lost in the semifinals to eventual state champion Tampa Sickles). Lakewood Ranch went 27-3 last year (only one loss to a Florida team) and return three players from that Final Four team. Senior Kostas Altinis led four Storm (7-4) players in double figures with 17 points.
Rockledge 77, Westminster Academy (Ft. Lauderdale) 57 – The Raiders improved to 9-0 following the 20-point win against the defending 4A state champions. University of Southern California (USC) commit Elijah Weaver (the No. 7 senior in Florida according to 247 Sports) had 20 points. Senior Carlos Jones also had 20 for the Raiders, who are ranked 7th in Class 6A according to MaxPreps. FGCU commit Zach Scott led the Lions (4-5) with 25.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (MD) 50, Apopka 48* – Senior Jordon Jones led Mount Carmel with 16 points and Rasheed Brown added 14 as the Cougars rallied from a 10-point deficit going into the fourth quarter to edge Apopka. Mount Carmel (6-6) trailed 29-18 at halftime and 37-27 after the third quarter but outscored the Blue Darters (4-5) 23-11 in the final period to squeak out the win. The only player in double figures for Apopka was Nathan Louis with 15 points. Mount Carmel led in the opening minutes of the game, but their offense bogged won until the fourth quarter, when Brown scored 8 points and Jones added 6.
Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville) 61, North Marion (Citra) 58* – Super sophomore Corey Walker (17 points, 10 rebounds, eight blocks) hit one free throw late and James Coleman (13 points) hit two free throws with nine seconds left as the Cardinals (6-6) advanced to the winners’ bracket. According to the Ocala Star-Banner, Walker’s eight blocked shots are the third most in a Kingdom Tournament game. Only Drake Lamont (10), Dyron Nix and Chris Walker (nine each) blocked more in a Kingdom game. North Marion (6-3) was led by Marquez Reaves, who scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter.
Vanguard (Ocala) 63, The Vanguard School (Lake Wales) 36* – Junior Dantwan Grimes had a game-high 22 points for the Knights (5-4), who jumped out to a 20-5 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to 16 points from Grimes. The Vanguard School (3-6) was led by Andre Blake with 11 points.
Orlando Christian Prep 62, Stranahan (Ft. Lauderdale) 50* – UNC signee senior Nassir Little scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the first quarter, and the defending 3A state champion Warriors (5-3) took control early and handed the Mighty Dragons their first loss of the season. Little led three OCP players in double figures as senior Ronaldo Segu and senior Dejuan Lockett chipped in 14 points apiece. The Warriors led 19-9 at the end of the first quarter and 33-16 at the half as cold-shooting Stranahan (7-1) could never get on track offensively and suffered their first setback of the season. The Mighty Dragons were led by sophomore Inady Legiste with 16 points and sophomore Dave Herard added 10, but both players fouled out in the fourth quarter and three Stranahan players were disqualified from the game due to fouls.