The Sagemont boys’ basketball team dropped the championship game of the A-Rod Basketball Classic to South Miami 48-42 Saturday night at Columbus.
Down by eight with 4:35 remaining, the Lions came storming back with a 10-2 run that tied the game at 42 with 1:08 left. But after allowing a Jorge Perez-Laham layup to give the lead back to South Miami, the Lions could not find the basket again, turning it over twice as they watched South Miami (7-2) connect on four of its last five free throws.
Egor Koulechov, an Arizona State signee, scored eight points within the Sagemont run that got the game tied. Twelve of Koulechov’s 18 points came in the fourth quarter as he also added five rebounds on the night.
Sagemont simply had no answer for South Miami center Antravious Simmons.
The 6-9 Virginia Commonwealth recruit dominated the paint with 20 points and 16 rebounds. He also made his presence felt defensively with three blocks.
Sagemont reached the tournament’s title game after beating Columbus in the semifinals and Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer in the quarterfinals.
The Lions (6-1), who fell one game short of a state championship last season after winning it all in 2010-11, are looking to get back to that Class 3A state title game.
“They’re a really good team,” South Miami coach Robert Doctor said. “They’ve got really good seniors, really good big men. I think they’re going to be one of the finalists in states.”
Sagemont coach Adam Ross enjoys early-season tournaments such as the A-Rod Classic because they serve as a measuring stick to determine what his team needs to improve on against top competition.
“Early in the season, games are more for evaluating your own team,” Ross says. “We play in this event because we’re going to get three good games, three different styles, and our team needs to grow. That’s the best way — to expose them to a bunch of different styles.”
Koulechov made the all-tournament team along with Ransom’s Sam Singer, Booker T. Washington’s Richie Spiller, and Columbus’ Marquise Clark and Perez-Laham. Simmons won tournament MVP honors.
Columbus defeated Booker T. in the third-place game minutes before Sagemont and South Miami took the floor.
Miami Beach and Gainesville Buchholz also participated in the eight-team tournament, along with Ransom Everglades and Dwyer.
A-Rod Basketball Classic final — South Miami 48, Sagemont 42 – SM (8-2): Simmons 20, Lopez 4, Bartley 4, Cratit 6, Perez-Laham 10, Barney 4. SAGE (6-1): Koulechov 18, Kirby 9, Horne 4, DeLucia 6, Cooper 3, Jurko 2. Halftime: 21-21. Three-pointers: Perez-Laham 2, Koulechov 2, Kirby, DeLucia. Rebounds: Simmons 16. Assists: Bartley 6. Steals: Cooper 3. Blocks: Simmons 3.
CLASS 4A STATE FINAL — BOOKER T. WASHINGTON 35,
BTW-Hopkins 87 pass from Harris (Walton kick)
BTW-Harris 12 run (kick failed)
BOL-Mitchell 4 pass from Peters (Heatherley kick)