IMG Academy hoists GEICO Nationals Championship with 65-55 win over #1 La Lumiere Lakers
The IMG Academy Ascenders basketball team (29-1) claimed the first national championship in program history on Saturday in New York City with a 65-55 win over USA TODAY SUPER 25 No. 1 ranked Indiana powerhouse La Lumiere Lakers (29-1). The Ascenders were led by McDonald’s All-American and Nike Hoop Summit selections Josh Green (Arizona commit) and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Villanova) who contributed 19 and 18 points in the championship effort, respectively.
Junior guard Jaden Springer, the Ascenders’ leading scorer in the quarterfinal and semifinal games with an average of 25.5 points, added another 12 points and seven assists against the Lakers.
The GEICO Nationals capped off the best season in Ascenders basketball history, setting a program record with 29 wins on the year. It was also the program’s second appearance in the Nationals after its first appearance in 2017.
In the lead up to the final, the Ascenders opened with a convincing win over Sunrise Christian Academy (Kan.), 65-50. In the semifinal, the Ascenders overcame a 16-point fourth quarter deficit against in-state rival Montverde Academy in a thriller, 74-73. Robinson-Earl put the finisher on Montverde with a poster dunk with only three seconds remaining, earning the No. 5 spot on the evening ESPN SportsCenter top 10.
The team already made history by having three players selected to the McDonald’s All-American Game. North Carolina signee Armando Bacot, who led the team in rebounding throughout the Nationals, joined Green and Robinson-Earl in Atlanta for the prestigious event.