Photo: Chelsea Bowman, Blueprint Pro

University School rolls to victory in district championship

Vernon Carey posted 19 points as the Sharks claimed the title.

In a championship level performance, the University School Sharks delivered. The Sharks rolled past the Chaminade-Madonna Lions 70-32 for the Class 5A district title. Duke bound Vernon Carey Jr. finished with 19 points, while Roger McFarlane added 17.

If the first quarter was a first round boxing match, the Sharks came out with a flurry of combinations. U-School jumped out to a 10-2 start, with Carey already nearing a double-double with 9 points and 8 rebounds at the end of the quarter. U-School would take a 21-9 lead after eight minutes, holding Georgia bound Toumani Camara to 2 points on limited touches.

By the second quarter, the Sharks were looking for the early knockout. University School rolled out to a 13-2 start, scoring 21 points in the quarter while holding the Lions to just four second quarter points.

The Sharks suffocated Camara on defense with multiple looks, holding him to just six first half points. Camara finished as the lone double-figure scorer for the Lions with 11.

Thaddius Franklin, a University of Miami football commit, finished with zero points on 0-9 shooting for the first half. Franklin would finish with just 4 points. The Sharks held a commanding 29-point lead at halftime, leaving the Lions home crowd silent and shocked.

“We came here to be aggressive,” said Carey. “I felt like we came out really hard and that gave us the momentum we needed to pull out the victory. We just tried to run a box-and-one on [Camara], not letting him get inside on offense. We wanted him to settle outside, which was our goal.”

The second half was no different, with the Lions only cracking the 10-point mark in the third quarter on a technical free-throw by Camara. For the game, the team’s offensive output in each quarter looked like this:

1st Quarter: 9 points

2nd Quarter: 4 points

3rd Quarter: 10 points

4th Quarter: 9 points

To put that in perspective, U-School defeated the Lions 68-58 in Cape Canaveral at the Kennedy Space Center back in January. A month later, a running clock was issued in the fourth quarter with the Sharks leading by as many as 40 points.

Joining Carey and McFarlane were three others in double figures. Freshman Jett Howard finished with 12 points, while junior Scottie Barnes and freshman Taylor Hendricks chipped in with 10 each. With the job done, Carey would sit out for most of the fourth quarter.

“It was the best effort of the year by far from start to finish,” said head Coach Jim Carr. “Everybody contributed while our defense was outstanding. We challenged everything at the rim. I can’t be prouder than these guys with a championship, a first one hopefully with more to build on.”

“We have the toughest district in the state and we just put 30-plus on a team on their home floor in a championship game. We went smaller on Toumani and mixed up our defenses on him. We did not want to give him any looks.”

“He is a great player. This summer, I coached an AAU team and Coach Crean (head coach at Georgia) asked me what player gave us the most trouble, and I said him. I have a ton of respect for that kid; he is going to have an unbelievable career. I don’t want to have to play him again. Georgia is getting a great player.”

Michael Costeines is a contributor for Mars Reel based in South Florida