Providence Day’s boys’ basketball team is going to New York City later this month to play for a high school national championship.
The Chargers, ranked No. 1 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 poll, were one of eight teams selected to play in the DICKS’ National Championship March 31 to April 2. The quarterfinal and semifinal games on March 31 and April 1 will be held at Christ the King High in Middle Village, N.Y. The national championship game April 2 will be at Madison Square Garden. ESPN will televise all the games.
Like the other seven teams, Providence Day’s team and coaches will receive an all-expenses paid trip to New York as well as get a tour of the city. The Chargers are the second Mecklenburg County team in three years to participate.
Northside Christian, then ranked as high as No. 4 nationally, played in the 2014 event, losing 69-60 to Oak Hill (Va.) in the quarterfinal round.
“It’s beyond anything I could’ve imagined,” Providence Day coach Brian Field said. “It’s obviously a great opportunity for our team and our coaching staff, but more than that, it’s a great opportunity for Providence Day School to have an opportunity to be a part of a nationally recognized event like this. We stay right in the heart of Manhattan ... and a lot of our guys have never been to New York City. What an experience it will be to say right off from Times Square and take in what New York City is all about.”
Providence Day (30-3) is ranked No. 18 in USA Today’s national poll. The Chargers won their first state championship in 17 years last month, beating a High Point Christian team that featured McDonald’s All-American and Kentucky recruit Bam Adebayo.
At the national tournament, Providence Day will face national No. 2 Montverde (Fla.) Academy in a 4 p.m. quarterfinal March 31. Montverde (25-1) played at the Hoodies House national Christmas tournament in Charlotte in December of 2013. That team featured Los Angeles Lakers point guard and No. 2 NBA draft pick DeAngelo Russell along with LSU forward Ben Simmons, a likely No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.
Montverde is 132-8 over the past five seasons.
This year’s Eagles feature two of the nation’s top three sophomore recruits – 6-9 forward Silvio DeSousa (No. 2) and 6-10 forward E.J. Montgomery (No. 3). The team also has 6-9 center Bruno Fernando, ranked No. 70 among seniors nationally, and Simi Shittu, a 6-9 sophomore ranked No. 13 nationally by ESPN.
“We’re in the process of learning more about them,” Field said of Montverde. “Obviously, they’re a national program we’ve been following for a few years. They’re an incredibly talented team, the cream of the crop, the gold standard. But the thing I like is that our guys have continued to rise to the occasion and shown they’re not scared or intimidated by anybody.
“It’s just a great chance for our program to have a chance to face a nationally-known team like that.”
DICKS’ nationals auarterfinals
March 31 at Christ The King High, NY: St. Benedict’s (NJ) vs. La Lumiere (IND) at noon; Oak Hill (VA) vs. Wasatch (UT), 2 p.m.; Montverde (Fla.) vs. Providence Day, 4 p.m.; Findlay Prep (NV) vs. Miller Grove (GA), 6 p.m.