Hialeah Gardens advances to Junior Orange Bowl semis


Special to The Miami Herald

Since 2003, seven of the nine Junior Orange Bowl champions have been out-of-town basketball teams. Only Miami Springs in 2007 — with current NFL standout T.Y. Hilton at guard — and Hialeah Gardens last year broke the visitors’ dominance.

The first two Miami-Dade teams to play quarterfinal games in the tournament’s national bracket Thursday failed to advance. But Hialeah Gardens (11-3), the defending state champion in Class 8A, became the first Miami-Dade school to beat an out-of-state team Thursday, defeating Ironton (Ohio) 74-56 to advance to Friday’s semifinals.

Adrian Gonzalez, a 6-4 senior forward, led Hialeah Gardens with 24 points. Teammate Alvaro Simoza, a 6-6 senior center, had 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

The Gladiators advanced to play Bullis (Potomac, Md.), which beat Coral Gables 84-61.

Thursday’s earlier results for the national bracket, which is for the higher-ranked teams in the tournament:

•  Bishop McNamara 70, Coral Reef 65: The Cudas (11-1) lost their first game of the season despite game-highs from 6-4 guard and Boston University recruit Cedric Hankerson, who had 36 points and 12 rebounds.

Bishop McNamara (6-3), which won the Junior OB title in 2003 with current NBA point guard Ty Lawson at the controls, is back in Miami for the first time since that team.

Hankerson and Bishop McNamara guard Stephan Jiggetts, who is a Siena recruit, engaged in a fierce duel. Jiggetts had 26 points, three assists and zero turnovers in an efficient performance that included shooting 4 of 10 on three-pointers.

Meanwhile, Hankerson had one assist and six turnovers as he tried to will his team to victory. He made 9 of 23 shots, including 5 of 15 on three-pointers, often shooting from way behind the arc.

Coral Reef trailed by nine points in the third period but rallied to tie the score at 53-53 late in the fourth. Jiggetts, though, stepped up to hit two consecutive three-pointers to give his team a six-point lead.

•  West Charlotte (N.C.) 66, Palmetto 41: The Panthers (10-3) raced to an 8-0 start, but the Lions (8-0) responded immediately with a 15-1 run and never trailed again.

The Panthers were led by Kory Schulz’s 16 points, six rebounds and two steals but could not keep up with the Lions, who are ranked No. 1 in North Carolina and No.18 nationally, according to MaxPreps.

Lions center Kennedy Meeks, a 6-9, 290-pound senior who has signed with the University of North Carolina, had game-highs in rebounds (7), blocks (4) and steals (4). He made 4 of 6 from the field, 4 of 4 from the line and added two assists against three turnovers.

Friday’s semifinals are set for the Junior Orange Bowl’s local bracket. Cooper City will play Mater Academy at 3:30 p.m., and Miami Central will challenge Booker T. Washington at 5 p.m.

Mater advanced by beating Killian 49-39, getting 11 free throws and 15 total points from Ricardo Lorenzo.

In the other quarterfinals, Cooper City beat Doral 48-44; Central defeated Coral Park 66-57; and Booker T. routed Reagan 57-23.

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•  Miami High 39, Sagemont 35: The Miami High girls’ basketball team started slow but made the plays necessary at the end to prevail against Sagemont in the finale of Thursday’s semifinal action at the Miami High Holiday Classic.

The Stingarees came away with a 39-35 victory and will face Lourdes on Friday at 6 p.m. to determine the tournament champion.

With the score tied at 35 and 20 seconds remaining, Miami High’s Amanda Mendoza, who finished with a game-high 14 points, went to the free-throw line and calmly sank both shots of a one-and-one to give the Stings a two-point lead. She then did the same with 4.6 seconds to play to make it a two-possession game and effectively put the score out of reach.

“She’s got ice in her veins,” Miami High coach Sam Baumgarten said. “I knew the game was over when she went to the line. She rarely misses.”

Sagemont (8-4) had a chance at getting the ball back down by two before Mendoza went to the line the second time. Miami High center Beatrice Mompremier, who had 10 points and seven rebounds, missed the front end of a one-and-one, but in chasing down the rebound the Lions knocked the ball out of bounds and it remained with the Stings.

Miami High (13-3) trailed by as many as nine points, 14-5, in the first half. The Stings then went on a 9-0 run before halftime to even up the score at 14 in what was a physical, low-scoring, grind-it-out battle. Erica Correa led the Lions with 12 points and nine rebounds. Ebony Griffin only managed eight points while playing less minutes than she usually would because of foul trouble.

Friday’s Miami High Holiday Classic championship game between Lourdes and the Stingarees could be a Class 8A regional final preview.

•  MH (13-3): Mendoza 14, Mompremier 10, Smith 4, Reid 3, Kimbrough 2, Pierre 2, Guerrero 2, Johnson 1, Sweeting 1. SAG (8-4): Cole 3, Black 5, Rucker 3, Pierre 4, Griffin 8, Correa 12. Halftime: 14-14. Three-pointers: Griffin. Rebounds: Correa 9. Assists: Reid 3. Steals: Pierre 3. Blocks: Griffin 3. Intentional: Johnson.

•  Lourdes 68, Gulliver 38: The Lourdes girls’ basketball team improved to 15-1 with a convincing victory against Gulliver at the Miami High Holiday Classic.

The Bobcats methodically built their lead throughout the course of the game without any significant runs. They will now face Miami High in the tournament’s championship game Friday.

Point guard Tiffany Suarez, a Virginia recruit, led the Bobcats with 22 points and eight rebounds.

Lourdes moved the ball efficiently, accumulating 16 assists.

Center Kiara Palmer led the team with six assists to go with her seven points and six rebounds.

Gulliver’s Jacquar Westbrooks had a game-high 24 points and six steals in the losing effort.


•  LOU (15-1): Suarez 22, Farinas 10, Jordan 11, Palmer 7, Minervino 2, Vidal 6, Nunez 8, Buitrago 2. GUL: Westbrooks 24, Campbell 6, Nixon 4, Deutch 2, Bahadue 2. Halftime: LOU 35-21. Three-pointers: Vidal 2, Westbrooks 2. Rebounds: Suarez 8. Assists: Palmer 6. Steals: Westbrooks 6. Blocks: Nixon 3.


•  All Florida Paper Holiday Shootout – Grandview Prep 66, Northwestern 53 – GP: Canete 28, Nance 16, Walsh 14, Jones 6, Newsome 2. NW: Reynolds 16, Kelly 14, Curry 7, Mainor 5, Griffin 4, Nottage 3, Bellamy 2.

•  All Florida Paper Holiday Shootout – Boca Raton 52, Fort Pierce Central 51 – BR: Southards 16, O’Connor 13, McKee 12, Maloney 7, Gayle 2, Fullingsworth 2. FP–C: Walker 13, Knight 12, Baitley 8, Rhohieff 7, Smith 4, Louis 4, Williams 3, Cummings 2.

•  All Florida Paper Holiday Shootout – Hughes Center (Cincinnati, OH) 71, Champagnat 70 (OT) – HC: Nared 17, Rivera 15, Harris 14, Daniels 13, Cook 10, Howe 2. CHA: Mackey 21, Holanda 15, Leadan 14, LaBranche 12, Collie 8, Chapton 2.

•  All Florida Paper Holiday Shootout – Gulliver Prep 59, Chaminade 47 – GUL: Lafuente 22, Ralat 20, Thomas 8, Chasin 7, Carreras 2. CHA: Brown 15, Dumorny 12, Toombs 11, Longman 3, B. JaiJai 2, Callahan 2, D. JaiJai 2.

•  Sabres Christmas Tournament – Miami Country Day 80, Miami Christian 75 – MCDS (10-1): Clements 7, Cordero 4, Parizo 25, Woodside 15, Alvarez 3, Sherwood 4, Zimmer 10, Gomez 10, Kydd 2. MC: Campos 21, S. Borgelin 16, Sh. Borgelin 11, Castellano 10, Pence 15, Rosario 2. Three-pointers: Clements 2, Parizo 4, Alvarez, Campos, S. Borgelin 2, Castellano 2, Pence 5. Rebounds: Woodside 8. Assists: Woodside 6,


•  Adidas Holiday Slam – Archbishop Carroll 70, Southridge 53 – AC (12-3): Brimah 17, Amaro 15, Leon 12, Lima 7, Brown 5, Levitt 3. SR (8-3): Edwards 19, Wimbley 14, Sanchez 13, Garcia 5, Harington 2. Halftime score: AC 33-24. Three-pointers: Leon 2, Lima 1, Levitt 1, Wimbley 2, Edwards 3, Garcia 1. Rebounds: Brimah 14. Assists: Lima 4.

•  The Rock Holiday Classic – Westwood Christian 94, Hudson High 54 – WWC (10-2): Conceicao 23, Shoon 24, Joseph 21, Ramis 16, Gonzalez 3, Reyes 3, Molina 3, Jou 2. Three-pointers: Ramis 2, Shoon 2, Reyes 1, Gonzalez 1. Rebounds: Conceicao 15. Steals: Ramis 4, Shoon 4, Assists: Ramis 11.

•  Great Florida Shootout – South Miami 69, Celebration 43 – SM: Simmons 8, Lopez 11, Bartley 9, LoBue 3, Perez-Laham 13, Blanco 6, Cratit 19. Rebounds: Lopez 11. Assists: Perez-Laham 5. Steals: Blanco 4, Perez-Laham 4.



All Florida Paper Holiday Shootout at Gulliver - Miami Northwestern vs Champagnat, noon; Fort Pierce Central vs Chaminade-Madonna, 2; Grandview Prep vs Hughes Center (Cincinnati, OH), 4; Gulliver Prep vs Boca Raton, 6.

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