It’s Miami High’s gym, but the Hialeah Gardens Gladiators owned it Saturday night.
The Gladiators, the defending state champions in Class 8A, showed they are again a serious threat in a 61-54 win over Miami High.
Gardens led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter before cruising to the win.
Adrian Gonzalez, a 6-5 senior wing, scored 20 points, and 6-7 senior center Alvaro Simoza added 18 to lead the Gladiators (15-4).
The Stingarees (10-6) led just once — at 2-0 — but it was their only points in the first quarter.
Gardens went on a 14-0 run to bridge the first and second quarters and had a 13-0 streak in the third period.
“We established our big guys in the third quarter,” Gardens coach Marcos Molina said of Simoza, who had 10 points in the quarter, and Gonzalez, who had eight. “We feel Simoza is one of the best big guys in the state of Florida.”
When Miami High cut Gardens’ lead to nine points midway through the fourth quarter, the Gladiators responded with a 9-0 run that pretty much ensured the visitors a victory.
Miami High was turnover-prone and could get little going inside. The Stings’ only offensive firepower came on three-pointers — four each by Julian Gualtieri and Austin James. They led the Stings with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Alan Baez added 10 points.
But the Stings needed more from 6-9 center Wadley Mompremier, who was active blocking and altering shots but had just two points.
Mompremier is two inches taller than Simoza but gives up at least 40 pounds in the matchup of centers.
Molina said the key was Gardens’ second-half execution.
“We made some adjustments against their zone,” the coach said. “We kept building our lead by getting the ball to our best scorers.
“I thought we relaxed when we got a 16- or 18-point lead. Our defensive intensity went down, and they got some easy opportunities.”
Molina said this battle between two of the better teams in the county will likely be repeated in the playoffs.
“This won’t be the last time we play them,” he said. “And next time, we have to do a better job of guarding the outside shot.”
MH: Gualtieri 16, Baez 10, James 15, Mompremier 2, Concepcion 3, Cook 8. HG: Gonzalez 20, Simoza 18, Frye 7, Sanchez 7, Leonardo 2, Frias 6, Huertas 1. Halftime: HG 22-17. Three-pointers: Gualtieri 4, James 4, Frye 2. Technical: Coqmard.
• Chaminade 8, Archbishop Caroll 0: Laura Salazar goal. Cara McCurdy goal. Carly Caspanello 2 goals. Mika Sheerin goal. Jackie Yao goal. Savannah Santos goal. Meghan Wesley goal. Mary Carmen assist. Jackie Yao assist. Alex Nowakowski assist. Erika Stanish assist. Kate McDonald assist. Savannah Santos shutout
• Gulliver 8, Mater Lakes 0: Nicole Harris 3 goals, 2 assists. Hansine Vexlund 2 goals, assist. Madelene Intriago 2 goals, assist. Karenna Northland goal, assist. Sophia Trujillo and Ciara Keane shutout. GUL 14-0-4
• South Miami 4, Miami High 0: Veronica Burns 2 goals. Madison Askew goal. Rosemary Chavez goal. SM 12-8-1
• St Thomas Aquinas 0, Marcus (TX) 0: STA 18-1-1
• Late Friday — Chaminade 3, Key West 0: Bridget Callahan 3 goals. Dillon Villella 2 assists. Alex Nowakowski assist. Savannah Santos shutout