By the time Northeast decided it was time to guard South Broward sharpshooter Alexis Pester, the Hurricanes’ playoff fate was all but sealed.
Northeast dared Pester to beat it from the perimeter, and South Broward’s leading scorer made the Hurricanes pay with 10 points in a row and 13 of their first 15 to start the Region 4-7A quarterfinal, a cushion that ultimately helped the Bulldogs (17-5) hold on for a 49-36 victory Thursday.
Bulldogs center Briyana Lloyd bounced back from a frustrating first half of not being able to finish strong around the basket to have 12 points and a career-high 18 rebounds.
The Bulldogs advanced to face District 16-7A rival Nova in the Region 4-7A semifinals on Tuesday.
Pester’s hot shooting staked the Bulldogs to a 27-14 halftime lead before the Hurricanes (16-6) stormed back by outscoring the Bulldogs 14-2 in the third quarter behind a talented underclassmen nucleus of Kya Morris, Shauntavia Dobson (12 points), Nailah Delinois and Ashley Saintigene (12 points).
Morris lit the spark with a three-point play, Saintigene added two driving layups and Dobson drained a three-pointer with three seconds left in the third quarter to pull the Hurricanes within 29-28.
But a Bulldogs team well-versed in the rich tradition built on six state titles dominated the fourth quarter with a 20-8 edge that started with Aaliyah Spatafora’s three-point play off a steal and layup.
Alexis Brito (10 points) hit a momentum-swinging three-pointer, and Pester, re-emerging after a scoreless third quarter, tossed in a tough runner on the left baseline for a 39-32 Bulldogs lead with 3:47 left.
NE (16-6): Saintigene 12, Delinois 2, Morris 4, Porter 4, Dobson 12, Gordon 2. SB (17-5): Pester 20, Spatafora 5, Brito 10, Mack 2, Lloyd 12. Three-pointers: Dobson 2, Pester 4, Brito 2. Rebounds: Lloyd 18. Steals: Spatafora 6
• Region 4-6A quarterfinal — Miami Norland 54, Fort Lauderdale 14: The Flying L’s (15-11) were overwhelmed by the host Vikings’ defense from the start, falling behind 17-0 to start the game. Kinrecia Francois was the lone bright spot in the loss, scoring eight points and connecting on a three-pointer.
Fort Lauderdale advanced to the regional round for the second consecutive season.
Brittany Dinkins led the way for the Vikings with 17 points and four steals, while Nia Roberts had 14 points and seven rebounds.
ANDRE C. FERNANDEZ
FTL (15-11): Harris 2, Dejesus 2, Francois 8, DeGraff 2. NOR (25-3): Dinkins 17, Hilbert 4, Jean-Baptiste 7, N. Roberts 14, Williams 10, McCoy 2. Halftime: NOR 37-7. Three-pointers: Dinkins, Francois. Rebounds: N. Roberts, Williams 7. Assists: Ford 3. Steals: Dinkins 4.
• Region 4-4A quarterfinal — Miami Monsignor Pace 43, Cardinal Gibbons 28: It didn’t matter that Monsignor Pace walked into Thursday night’s Class 4A regional quarterfinal contest with a 12-13 record. Hosting Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons, the Spartans, led by Maikala McLoud’s 17 points, had no problem disposing of the Chiefs, cruising to the 15-point victory.
Pace, which avenged a 52-49 loss to Gibbons in this same round a year ago, will host Coral Springs Charter in a regional semifinal Tuesday night.
CG (14-10): Williams 11, Cohen 8, Jones 5, Ozaltin 4. MP (13-13): McCloud 17, Floyd 13, Nairn 7, Wilson 3, Harrington 3. Halftime: MP 24-17. Three-pointers: McCloud 2, Wilson. Rebounds: Nairn 15. Assists: Harrington 8. Steals: McCloud 4.
• Region 4-6A quarterfinal — Archbishop McCarthy 44, Northwestern 35: Although they played without any seniors, the Mavericks managed to pull ahead and win in the final minutes.
Freshman Hailey Duren scored a team-high 18 points and added nine steals and nine blocks. Archbishop McCarthy improved to 16-9.
AM: Middleton 13, Periu 4, Amortegui 6, Duren 18, Kouri 3. NW: Noble 7, Allen 3, Dawkins 3, Huel 2, Gunn 5, Stalworth 15. Halftime: 21-17 AM. Three-pointers: Middleton 2, Noble. Rebounds: Duren 13. Assists: Middleton 2. Steals: Duren 9. Blocks: Duren 9.
• Region 4-4A quarterfinal — Coral Springs Charter 58, Miami Jackson 17: Miami Jackson’s girls traveled to Broward County to play Coral Springs Charter in a Region 4-4A quarterfinal game.
The Generals could not keep up with the host Panthers and lost by 41.
Coral Springs Charter was led by Morgan Smellie with a game-high 14 points on four three-pointers to go along with four rebounds and four assists.
KAMAAL J DESOUZA
CSC: Smellie 14, Hall 11, Wojcik 8, Wyatt 7, Williams 6, Smith 5, K. Williams 3, J. Williams 2, Vardy 2. MJ: Johnson 4, Hill 3, Pascal 3, Keaton 2, De La Rosa 2, Holt 2, Bellot 1. Three-pointers: Smellie 4, Hall 2, Williams, Pascal, Hill. Rebounds: Smellie 4, Holt 4. Assists: Smellie 4
• Region 3-8A quarterfinal — Flanagan 63, Deerfield Beach 43: The Flanagan Falcons defeated the Deerfield Beach Bucks in a highly contested regional game. The Falcons pulled away in the second half after a first-half score of 27-25, when Deerfield Beach forward Brinisha Powell scored at will.
Powell was the only threat to the Flanagan team as she scored 20 points, including 6 for 6 at the free-throw line.
• Region 3-8A quarterfinal — Miramar 48, Douglas 40: Miramar’s bus broke down on the way to Douglas on Thursday night on the way to its Region 3-8A quarterfinal game. But it did not break them as the Patriots held off the Eagles.
Davicia Lee hit four consecutive free throws in the final two minutes, helping turn a three-point lead into a nine-point lead.
At the same time, Douglas’ Kristin Rampersad missed the front end of a pair of one-and-one’s.
Miramar will play the Flanagan-Deerfield Beach winner Tuesday.
MIR (20-5): Daniel 9, Lee 12, Jinks 10, Bridges 15, Vassell 2. DOU (20-5): Feig 5, Mogent 7, Arinus 4, Cooper 17, Enos 6, Rampersad 1. Halftime: DOU 24-22. Three-pointers: Enos 2, Mogent, Daniel, Bridges 3. Rebounds: Jinks 11. Assists: Jinks 3. Steals: Bridges 4. Blocks: Jinks 6.
• Region 4-5A quarterfinal — Dillard 65, Riviera Beach Suncoast 23: From the opening tip, Dillard dictated the tempo of the game against Riviera Beach Suncoast as the host Panthers defeated the Chargers in the Region 4-5A quarterfinal in Fort Lauderdale.
Kayla Wright led Dillard (24-2) with 16 points.
Dillard, the three-time defending state champs in 5A, will host district rival American Heritage in the regional semifinal Tuesday.
DIL (24-2): Wright 16, Clayton 12, Myers 11, Anderson 6, Green 5, Lee 5. RBS: (14-12): Akbar 7, Hawkins 6, Merritt 4, Winn 3, Regenbaum 2. Halftime: DIL 35-15. Rebounds: Clayton 10. Three-pointers: Myers, Lee, Wilks, Akbar, Winn.