Although they are neighborhood rivals, Carol City respects the success of the Norland boys’ basketball program.
“They are the elite team and we are working to try and reach the level of success they have had,” Carol City coach Barry Robinson said.
The Chiefs enjoyed the type of win they would need to take a step toward emulating the three-time state champion Vikings on Tuesday when they beat Norland 40-35 in a GMAC semifinal at Miami High.
Carol City (20-4) ousted the defending Class 6A state champions, and will take on its next county stalwart, South Miami, at 7 p.m. Thursday in the tournament championship. The Cobras (21-3) routed Booker T. Washington 66-46 in the other semifinal.
The Chiefs forced Norland (19-5) into numerous turnovers and took advantage of a dismal shooting first half in which the Vikings went 3 of 31 from the field.
Still, Norland battled back from a 10-point deficit to take its first lead of the game at 33-32 with 3:12 remaining. Marquil Smith then hit his third timely three-pointer of the game to give the Chiefs the lead back for good.
Carol City center Rashad Thompkins didn’t have a great offensive game, but hit a pair of free throws to seal the outcome with 6.7 seconds left after Zachary Johnson missed what would have been a game-tying three-pointer by Norland.
Smith finished with 13 points, and Thompkins had six points and 10 rebounds.
But Devonte McKennie had the most-productive game for Carol City, finishing with 14 points, six rebounds, four assists, four blocks and three steals.
• GMAC semifinal — South Miami 66, Booker T. Washington 46: After a close first quarter, South Miami overpowered the Tornadoes (18-6) with its combination of size and quickness.
The Cobras, who led by as many as 26 points in the second half, outscored Booker T. 16-2 in the second quarter to take control of the game.
Joseph Lopez had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Antravious Simmons had 14 points and 12 rebounds. John Cratit led all scorers with 18 points. Jorge Perez-Laham finished with 12 points, four assists and three steals.
The Cobras are having one of the most consistent seasons of any team in Miami-Dade County. After opening the season going 2-2 at the State Farm Tournament of Champions in Chicago, South Miami has won 19 of its past 20 games, including wins against Sagemont, Ransom Everglades and an earlier win against Booker T. The Cobras have won 11 in a row since a one-point district loss to Columbus on Dec. 20.
CC (20-4): White 6, Smith 13, McKennie 14, Thompkins 6, Jackson 1. NOR (19-5): Johnson 7, McKnight 13, Williams 9, Mike 4, Deceus 2. Half: CC 18-11. Three-pointers: Smith 3, Mike. Rebounds: Thompkins 10. Assists: McKennie 4. Blocks: McKennie 4.
SM (21-3): Perez-Laham 12, Bartley 2, Blanco 5, Cratit 18, Lopez 15, Simmons 14. BTW (18-6): Spiller 14, Holcomb 9, Pitpit 3, Passmore 4, Jackson 12, Cox 3. Half: SM 27-12. Technicals: Booker T. Washington. Three-pointers: Spiller, Holcomb 2, Pitpit, Cox, Perez-Laham, Blanco. Rebounds: Simmons, Lopez 12 each. Assists: Perez-Lahan 4. Steals: Perez-Laham 3.
The Florida High School Athletic Association released revised districts for the next two football seasons with a few adjustments involving Miami-Dade teams.
Belen Jesuit will move to District 15-8A beginning next season, joining Southwest, Braddock, Ferguson, Varela and Sunset.