Step-back three-pointer off a spin dribble. Two-handed dunks after splitting double-teams.
Sagemont 6-6 star wing and Arizona State prize recruit Egor Koulechov unleashed the full repertoire in a scintillating 26-point performance that helped the Lions overwhelm Northeast 62-38 in the Kreul Classic Elite Challenge at Coral Springs City Gymnasium on Wednesday night.
“I just tried to make my shots and take what Northeast gave me,” Koulechov said. “My whole game has improved with all the work I did over the summer on my decision-making and taking the ball more to the hole. The most important thing is we got the ‘W.’”
Koulechov, who scored 20 first half point, provided the icing on the cake when he navigated past three defenders at the top of the key and elevated for a vicious two-handed dunk with 2:59 left in the game that pushed the lead to 60-36.
An active and intimidating Lions’ 2-3 zone, which had 6-5 Jordan Cooper and Koulechov manning the wings while 6-7 Andre Horne and 6-9 Vieux Kande cleaning up everything else stifled the Hurricanes’ perimeter game and helped the Lions take a commanding 18-5 first quarter lead.
Horne came alive for 12 points, Cooper added 10 points and Joe Kirby had eight points for the Lions (11-1), who should rise from No. 10 in the RMF Magazine South Florida rankings.
The Lions paid particular attention to Northeast sharp-shooting guard Hunter Osceola, who finished with 10 points, but only two in the first half.
“We’ve played very well with the 2-3 and it’s hard to get away from it,” Lions coach Adam Ross said. “It’s nice to know it’s in our bag of tricks. When we need to against the right team, we can get into it defensively. Northeast had a couple good kids who really shoot the ball and we needed to extend the zone and take it away.”
Northeast 6-10 center Malik Price-Martin, who added 11 points, gave the Hurricanes a brief 3-0 lead on a three-pointer before the Lions answered with a 18-2 blitz, keyed by a 12-foot jumper by Horne, a layup by Koulechov and then a steal by Koulechov which he followed with a two-handed dunk with 38 seconds left in the first quarter.
• Sagemont 62, Northeast 38 – NE (6-3): Mendez 4, Price-Martin 11, King 2, Osceola 11, Langham 6, Simonson 2, Sanchious 3. Sag (11-1): Koulechov 26, Horne 6, Cooper 10, Kirby 8, Kande 6. Halftime: Sag 36-15. Three-pointers: Price-Martin 1, Osceola 2, Cooper 1, Koulechov 2. Rebounds: Koulechov 7. Assists: Jurko 6. Steals: Kande 3.
Sagemont’s girls’ cross-country team and University School’s girls’ swimming team were among the Florida High School Athletic Association’s Fall Sports Academic Team champions announced this week.
Sagemont’s girls had a cumulative team grade point average of 4.0 to lead Class 1A in that category. University’s swimmers had a 3.769 to lead Class 1A girls.
Boosted by its recent state football championship, St. Thomas Aquinas leads the Class 7A standings for the FHSAA’s Floyd E. Lay Sunshine Cup All-Sports Award through the fall sports. American Heritage leads the Class 5A after a strong fall that included a boys’ golf state championship.
Archbishop McCarthy’s girls’ soccer team will hold its third annual Kick Sarcoma game Thursday at 6 p.m. when it hosts Coral Springs Charter at the Archbishop McCarthy. The team will be raising money for the Sarcoma Foundation in honor and memory of Debbie Williams, the mother of former Mavericks player Britney Williams. There will be a bake sale, raffle, and bracelets will be sold for $3.