In a star-studded game that was featured nationally on ESPN2, the University School Sharks dropped a 70-62 decision to the 13th-ranked Sunrise Christian (KS) Buffaloes. The highly anticipated matchup was a part of the GEICO ESPN High School Basketball Showcase.
In front of a raucous home crowd, Duke commit Vernon Carey Jr. did not disappoint for the Sharks. Carey finished with 26 points, including 16 in the first half. However, the Buffaloes keyed on Carey’s touches in the second half, holding him to just three points in the third quarter.
Defensively, Carey stifled 7-footer N’Faly Dante for nine points, keeping the center from getting deep into the lane and settling on short jump hooks. Dante, who picked up his final field goal on a tip-in with 5:13 remaining in the third quarter, currently ranks as the 7th overall prospect in the Class of 2020, according to Rivals.com with offers from schools such as Kentucky and Kansas.
“He (Dante) is a good player, physical,” said Carey. “I felt like I held him all together tonight. When I was catching the ball they would bring another person so I just had to get rid of it. They were getting the ball out of my hand.”
The scoring load for the Buffaloes fell mostly on the shoulders of senior Jordan Turner. The Baylor commit matched Carey with 26 points, including 16 at halftime. Turner hit a corner 3-pointer, followed by a baseline driving layup during a decisive 13-4 run in the middle of the third quarter.
Carey would keep the Sharks close in the fourth quarter with a block and defensive turnover during the six-minute mark. While most of his early damage consisted of three thunderous dunks, Carey would hit a 3-pointer with 5:25 to go to cut the Buffaloes lead to 48-46.
Still, the workload for Carey proved to be too much against a Sunrise Christian team loaded with collegiate talent. Much of the secondary offensive load came from freshman Jett Howard, who finished with 17 points.
Junior forward Scottie Barnes was a bit unlucky around the rim and finished with a quiet ten points.
Meanwhile, Sunrise Christian got key fourth quarter baskets from senior Grant Sherfield. Sherfield powered his way into the scoring affair with 16 points, including consecutive driving layups in the final quarter. Sherfield, who just recently pulled his commitment from UCLA after the firing of Steve Alford, sent the Sharks crowd home in silence with a game sealing dunk in the waning moments.
Vanderbilt bound Austin Crowley added 14 points.
“They are really good, I think they are the best team in the country,” said head coach Jim Carr. “I thought our kids had great emotion all night. That was a great high school basketball game. We just got out of character for about a two minute stretch not throwing the ball inside.”
“They had so much emphasis on Vernon with our help side. Our spacing got a little out of whack. They are a great help defensive team. We have to be able to knock down some shots and stretch the floor a little better. They are really good, talented, and just put us away during that stretch.”
Michael Costeines is a contributor for Mars Reel based in South Florida