In the midst of many of the nation’s best high school basketball tournaments being canceled, the Beach Ball Classic was absolutely loaded with the countries highest-ranked teams.
Representing South Florida were the Calvary Christian Eagles, who went 3-1 and finished second place after falling to the nation’s No. 16 ranked team, Milton High School, in the finals.
“We wanted to show the country that Calvary Christian was the real deal,” Eagles head coach Cilk McSweeney told 305Sports.
While the Eagles as a whole were very impressive, the tournament also demonstrated an emergence of players like Taylor Hendricks to get a lot more national recognition.
“I was confident and aggressive,” Taylor Hendricks, who’s ranked as a four-star forward in the 2022 class, said.
Calvary Christian entered the season with high expectations, as their heavily talented roster holds three players with high major Division I scholarship offers — Hendricks, 2022 forward Gregg Glenn and 2023 guard Marvel Allen.
Hendricks is averaging 14.6 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game this season, with Glenn posting 14.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals per contest. Allen is adding 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.8 steals per outing.
The Eagles hold a 9-3 record, with wins over nationally recognized powerhouse schools such as Cannon, Archbishop Moeller and No. 20 Oak Ridge. Their three losses came to No. 1 Montverde Academy, No. 3 IMG Academy (69-62) and No. 16 Milton. Calvary’s successes have made them the No. 21 ranked team in the country, and they’ve had the opportunity to showcase their talents on ESPN at this year’s Montverde Classic
Such national recognition to a South Florida basketball team is unheard of, and has not come since the NSU University School days of former five-star center Vernon Carey Jr., who now plays for the Charlotte Hornets, and former five-star FSU guard Scottie Barnes.
“We showed the country that we should be ranked as one of the best teams and that we are the best team in South Florida,” Hendricks, who played at U-School from 2018-2020 said.
“It’s amazing to be ranked in the top 25 because we all put in so much work,” Hendricks added. “We are blessed to even have a season because so many teams didn’t and many teams also didn’t even play any games yet.”