Top Risers basketball
After starting 4-7, the Top Risers third-grade travel basketball team went 20-2 in their next 22 games winning several tournaments.
They defeated the Future Stars 44-26 to win the Holiday Slam Fest, edged the Wellington Wolves 41-35 to win the Easter Jam, beat the Wellington Wolves 59-41 to win the Jupiter Jam, defeated the Hollywood Bucs 54-23 to win the Slam Fest Tune-Up and were runners-up at the USSSA State Championships.
The Top Risers won the Dunk League title and placed fifth of 30 teams in Division I of AAU Nationals at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista. The third graders also had a 100 percent success rate, passing the FCAT.
Moving to the fourth grade level, the Top Risers beat the Miami City Ballers 51-39 to win the Florida Gold Coast District.
The stellar student athletes are Johnnie Knight, Tavoris Miller, Tyler Greene, Jayden Vrins, Floyd Ridgeway, Arturo Dean, Jayden Higgins, Christopher Scott, Dominick Enningham-Nelson and Rashard Parms.
BankUnited Center basketball
As the basketball lights lit at the BankUnited Center on Friday, Jan. 18, staff prepared for the 368th basketball game to be played at the venue since it opened on Jan. 4, 2003. However, this game would be different from all others. This was the first high school basketball game to ever be played at the Global Spectrum-managed arena on the campus of the University of Miami in Coral Gables.
With the Belen Jesuit Wolverines squaring off against the Christopher Columbus Explorers, these rival schools made history as the BankUnited Center continues to celebrate 10 years of sports and entertainment in the Coral Gables.
Prior to the start of the game, the achievement of bringing this match to the venue was recognized as Global Spectrum’s Lorenzo Muniz, general manager of the BankUnited Center, was presented the Seal to the City alongside others by Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason, Coral Gables City Commissioner Frank Quesada and Miami-Dade County City Commissioner Francis Suarez.
To bookend this game performed by Miami’s own high school athletes and witnessed by a crowd of more than 3,400, a 3-point buzzer beater was made with .09 seconds left to win the game for the Explorers and create another memorable moment in the BUC’s 10-year history.
When the BankUnited Center first opened its doors in January 2003 with the Miami Hurricanes defeating the UNC Tarheels in an overtime win, the event marked the first time a mid-size venue had opened south of downtown in Miami-Dade County. Currently, the BUC still remains the largest facility of its kind south of Downtown Miami and continues to live up to its tagline “The Best Mid-Size Venue in the World.”
Throughout the past 10 years, the BUC has hosted hundreds of memorable events and sold-out shows, opening with Coldplay and continuing with concerts such as Green Day, John Mayer, Drake, The Fray, and Barry Manilow, as well as, being the setting for televised events and award shows such as the 2004 Presidential Debates, Univision’s 2012 Meet the Candidates, Unplugged featuring Ricky Martin and Thalia, Premio Lo Nuestro, Premios Juventud, Billboard’s Latin Music Awards, and the first Season of Fox’s THE X FACTOR. The venue has also welcomed world-renowned figures and politicians, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, former President Bill Clinton, current President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator John McCain, Governor Mitt Romney and will soon be welcoming Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.