By Dave Brousseau
DAVIE – In the blink of an eye the University School boys’ basketball team has the talent to bury its opponent.
In a prize match-up between a pair of defending state champions, U-School defeated Westminster Academy 87-66 in what was dubbed the South Florida Showdown at Nova Southeastern University on Thursday.
Junior forward Scottie Barnes scored a game-high 29 points and 14 assists to lead the Sharks (6-0). He was closely followed by senior center and Duke University commit Vernon Carey Jr. with 24 points.
“We knew they were going to come out and play hard, so we needed to match their intensity,” said Barnes. “We wanted to hit them in the mouth first and extend our lead.
The Sharks, ranked No. 4 in the country by MaxPreps, followed the game plan jumping to a 20-6 lead early.
“I think they just got off to a hot start,” Westminster coach Ehren Wallhoff said. “When they shoot that hot, you try and keep them out of the paint for easy buckets. When they shoot that well they’re hard to beat.”
The Lions (8-1) closed to within seven of the lead with 3:34 left in the third quarter following a Chase Johnston 3-pointer Johnston finished a strong second half six 3-pointers for 22 overall points.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was in attendance to watch his recent commit.
Said Kryyzewski, “I came to a very special talent.”
Carey helped seize any comeback win by Westminster with 14 second half points, including 11 in the third quarter to offset Johnston’s 13 points.
“We applied great guard pressure and we picked up the intensity on the defensive end,” Carey Jr. said. “We played freely for the most part of offense. The middle was open for the most part and we were able to attack that.”
“They are a good team,” University coach Jim Carr said of Westminster. “We are a good team that is very deep. I thought we play good game tonight and Barnes and Carey both playing very well.”
They early deficit was just to much for Westminster to overcome. Though the Lions hit nine of their 10 three-pointers in the second half, University matched the scoring.
They eventually pulled away for the 21-point victory.
Westminster guard Sam Griffin finished with 22 points, while teammate Andrew Atkinson finished with 14 points, all which came in the first half.
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL 87, WESTMINSTER ACADEMY 66
WA (8-1): Griffin 7-5-22, Johnston 7-1-22, Swenson 2-0-4, Middlebrooks 1-0-2, Atkinson 6-2-14, Anyichie 1-0-2.
US (8-1): Barnes 44-4-29, Ja. Howard 2-0-4, Carehy Jr. 9-4-24, McFarlane 5-1-11, Je. Howard 4-0-10, Beaubrum 1-0-2, Perez 1-1-3, Hendricks 1-0-2, Flowers 1-0-2.
3-pointers: Barnes 3, Carey Jr. 2, Je. Howard 2, Johnston 7, Griffin 3. Half: US 39-27.