Boone boys basketball blossoms with JV grads
Boone High basketball coach David Martinson had the future in mind when he kept a talented group of freshmen and sophomores together on the Braves’ junior-varsity team last season.
Some of those guys, including current junior Will Searl, could have helped as spot players for a varsity team that finished 12-12. But Martinson said it was even more beneficial for them to play major minutes and key roles on a JV squad that went unbeaten. Their future is now.
The Braves brought back no full-time varsity starters, but the JV call-ups meshed with varsity holdovers this summer, and the payoff has been a 7-0 start this season for a team that relies primarily on a junior class led by Searl and shooting guard Javion Phelps.
Boone is one of the teams to watch at this week’s The City Beautiful Invitational at The First Academy.
The 16-team tournament tips off Wednesday with a lineup that includes four Sentinel Super 16 teams: No. 9 Ocoee, No. 10 Boone, No. 11 Dr. Phillips and No. 13 Kissimmee Osceola.
The field includes last season’s tournament champion, Daytona Beach Mainland, and four strong out-of-state teams: Bishop Loughlin of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Dutchtown of Hampton, Ga.; Southwind of Memphis, Tenn.; and Prestonwood Christian of Plano, Texas. Dutchtown, which was 8-1 and ranked No. 10 in Georgia’s Class AAAAA going into a Tuesday game, opens with Hollywood Chaminade, which is ranked No. 3 in Florida’s 3A class.
Play tips off with host TFA taking on Prestonwood, a school that is very familiar for Royals coach Chris Mayberry. He left his First Academy post to coach the Lions for two state championship seasons with current NBA player Julius Randle (2011-12 and 2012-13) before returning to TFA.
Boone opens tournament play against Seffner Christian, which was ranked No. 5 in Class 3A in the SourceHoops.com preseason state rankings.
The Crusaders are 0-4, but that’s a deceptive record. Three losses are to ranked teams and the fourth was to state-ranked Lake Highland Prep, by a 92-87 score Saturday.
“I scouted that game, and I know we’re going to have to score to beat Seffner,” Martinson said Monday. “We’ve got our hands full, but that’s why you play in a tournament like this, which has a ton of talent. The goal is to make sure you’re getting better every day.”
Boone opened the season with a 61-54 win against Holy Trinity of Melbourne, which has not lost since. The Braves also have beaten Bishop Moore, Orlando University, Cypress Creek, Wekiva and Tohopekaliga and edged Timber Creek 55-53 last week in their closest call to date.
Phelps drew a foul on a long 3-point shot late in that game at home. He missed his first free throw but made the next two to keep his team undefeated.
“Timber Creek came over and played really hard,” Martinson said. “That was kind of an eyeopener for our kids. We’re going to take some lumps because of the youth and lack of experience. It’s not always going to be as easy as these guys might think.”
Rankings report: Oak Ridge (5-0) rose from No. 2 to No. 1 in Class 7A in the second edition of SourceHoops.com’s state boys basketball rankings. Seminole (6-0) is No. 3.
Lake Highland Prep (5-1) moved into the 4A top 10 at No. 9, and Windermere Prep (8-0) earned the No. 9 slot in 3A in rankings compiled in conjunction with the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches.
Other top-10 teams from the Sentinel coverage area are Apopka in 7A, Leesburg in 5A, and CFCA and Mount Dora Christian Academy in 2A.
The Boone boys basketball team, showing off new blue uniforms, is off to a 7-0 start this season.