Sophomore 6-5 forward Cedric Wright came alive for a game-high 24 points and 13 rebounds and Arthur Kennedy provided a spark off the bench with 10 points to give Dillard a 76-75 home victory over American Heritage on Saturday night.
Tyson Grace had 17 points and Romello Walker added nine points for the Panthers (7-2), who are No. 5 in the Source Hoops Class 5A poll.
“For us this game was about character building to see we can play with these guys,” said Dillard five-time state champion coach Darryl Burrows. ”We are just trying to build on that a little bit. “
Dillard trailed 47-39 at halftime before Kennedy led a 12-2 run that tied the game 56-56 with 1:12 left in the third quarter. Kennedy converted a three-point play, had a layup and then hit a 12-footer to tie the score 56-56.
Keyshawn Evans paced the No. 2 Patriots with a game-high 18 points but he left the game for good with a leg injury attempting a desperation three-pointer as the third quarter ended.
Patriots 6-5 star forward Kobe Eubanks capped a disappointing six-point performance when he missed two free throws with 7.4 seconds left with Dillard holding a tenuous 76-75 lead.
Eubanks had a chance to redeem himself after grabbing a rebounding and going coast-to-coast in the closing seconds but was called for an offensive foul as the final buzzer sounded.
Dillard 76, American Heritage 75 - AH (7-2): Justin Massey 14, Borders 8, Evans 18, Eubanks 6, Lamont 13, Jason Massey 14, McCormick 2. DIL (7-2): Wright 24, Walker 9, Pendergraph 7, Grace 17, Kennedy 10, T. Smith 7. Van Cooten 2. Half: AH 43-37. Rebounds: Wright 13.
• Sagemont 96, Tampa Catholic 77: With Egor Koulechov scoring 33 points and snagging 12 rebounds, the Sagemont boys’ basketball team, playing on the second night of a back-to-back, took down visiting Tampa Catholic in the Hoop Exchange Southern Series.
The Lions went on a 13-0 run to end the third quarter and outscored Tampa Catholic by 16 in the period to give the Lions a 17-point lead heading into the fourth..
“We made some adjustments at halftime — just transition defense, making sure we stop them from getting the ball up the floor quickly, getting ready for their offense,” Sagemont coach Adam Ross said.
Joe Kirby followed up Koulechov’s performance by hitting four three-pointers to score 23 points. His five assists tied the team high.
Tampa Catholic stuck with Sagemont (12-1) for the entire first half, running in transition, even on made Sagemont field goals, and hitting contested three-pointers.
As a team, Tampa Catholic connected on 12 three-pointers.
Sagemont 96, Tampa Catholic 77 – SAGE (12-1): Koulechov 33, Kirby 23, Horne 17, DeLucia 6, Kande 6, Cooper 10, Jurko 1. TC: Harris 15, Molina 14, Corbett 18, Burkes 6, Thomas 12, Dziagwa 9, Farotto 2. Halftime: SAGE 46-45. Three-pointers: Koulechov 2, Kirby 4, DeLucia 2, Molina, Corbett 4, Dziagwa 3, Harris 3, Burkes. Rebounds: Koulechov 12. Assists: Kirby, DeLucia, Molina, Thomas 5. Steals: Corbett 3. Blocks: Koulechov, Jurko, Horne. Technical: Corbett.
• Blanche Ely 67, Cardinal Gibbons 29: Blanche Ely gave Cardinal Gibbons its first loss of the season in the Hoops Exchange tourney.
Ely (7-0) went on a first-half 19-0 run that turned what was a 7-5 game to a 26-5 mauling. The Tigers never looked back.