It’s the first invitation for the girls team, who have been working hard to get to this level. After claiming the championship in 2019, the boys are eager to redeem themselves after losing to Sunrise Christian in last year’s semi-finals. “We have wounds that are there, that we can pick from,” explains Coach Sean McAloon. “Adversity has hit this team, and they’ve beat it away as much as they possibly could.”
The boys team (22-4) has had plenty of ups and downs this season, with big wins over rival Montverde Academy and two tough losses to top-seeded Sunrise Christian. Three boys—Keyonte George (16.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg), Jaden Bradley (9.9 rpg, 5.0 apg), and Jarace Walker (16.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.2 bpg)—made the McDonald’s All-American team and competed earlier this week. All three players also made the ESPN 100 Player Rankings list.
The girls started out the season with the goal of making the GEICO tournament. After a few setbacks and some big wins, they’re ready for primetime. “It just moved from a dream to making it happen,” says Coach Shell Dailey. “We’re not dreaming anymore. It’s a plan.”
The girls team (12-4) may have had a shorter season, but the quality of games has proven them as a force to be reckoned with. Key players to watch are seniors Grace VanSlooten (9.2 rpg, 51% fg), entrepreneur Gabby Anderson (7.5 rpg, 1.7 spg, Graffiti by Gabby), and point guard Kailyn Gilbert. Vanslooten—who also made the McDonald’s All-American team. In addition, Gilbert both surpassed 2,000 career points this year and also made the ESPN 100 Player Rankings list.
The GEICO High School Basketball National Tournament begins today, with both the boys and girls teams tipping off in their first-round matchups. This three-day tournament will be streamed live on the ESPN family of networks. After their well-fought seasons, these student-athletes have had plenty of time to rest up, reflect, and train for what comes next. The first round of matchups will be:
- Girls—No. 4 IMG Academy vs. No. 5 Bishop McNamara (Md.), 10 AM ET on ESPN+
- Boys—No. 2 IMG Academy vs. No. 7 La Lumiere (Ind.), 4 PM ET on ESPNU
Watch these videos above to see how each team prepared for the biggest tournament of the year, then tune in to watch them compete live. To sign up for a basketball camp or another youth program, check out the links below.