A pair of upsets knocked out a defending state champion and a favorite in Class 4A on Friday night in the District 13-4A playoffs at University School.
Despite trailing Pine Crest for most of the game, North Broward Prep rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the defending state champions, 61-58, in the first district semifinal.
Jacolby Harris led the Eagles with 18 points. Damon Arnette followed with 16 points and Taarig Lewis added in 12 points for North Broward Prep (16-11).
The Eagles will face University School – which, in its semifinal, eliminated Cardinal Gibbons, considered a state contender –in the district championship on Saturday at 7 p.m.
“We’ve played Pine Crest tough the last two years,” Eagles’ coach Scott Williams said. “Our kids knew what they had to do.”
With under a minute to play in the fourth quarter, Pine Crest (18-9) held a 58-57 lead. On the right wing, Kalvin Cline’s cross-court pass was stolen by Harris. After driving up the court, Harris was fouled and knocked down two free throws to give the Eagles its first lead of the second half at 59-58.
Pine Crest attempted to hold for the final shot of the game. The Panthers were able to get the ball inside with 23.1 seconds remaining, but Arnette on help defense stole the ball from Antonio Vrankovic. Harris was fouled again and converted on two more free throws to seal the game for the Eagles.
After trailing Pine Crest 38-29 at halftime the Eagles came out in the third quarter knocking down perimeter shots. Harris’ driving drew the Panthers defense, which left Lewis to knock down three of his four 3-pointers in the game.
“Taariq stepped up and hit some big threes for us,” Williams said.
NBP (16-11): Harris 18, Lewis 12, Arnette 16, Reyes 6 Rifkind 6. PC (18-9): Crawford 20, Marcinkevicius 16, Antonio Vrankovic 9. Halftime: Pine Crest 38-29. Three pointers PC: Crawford 4 NPB: Lewis 4, Rifkind 2
• District 13-4A semifinal University School 62, Cardinal Gibbons 52: University School relied on its aggressive play attacking the basket and its tough defense on Cardinal Gibbons (19-4) as the Suns pulled away in the fourth quarter.
Maquedius Bain led University School (15-7) with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Jalen Battle followed with 16 points and four rebounds.
After taking a 12-9 lead into the second quarter, the Suns got easy baskets in transition off of Gibbons missed shots and turnovers. Guards Mikon Hewitt and Jabari Bullock found gaps in Gibbons’ defense. Combined with Bain’s physical play in the paint, the Suns took a 26-18 lead to the break. Cardinal Gibbons went inside to Melvin Brooks and Reginald Goosby, which sparked a 12-2 run as the Chiefs took a 30-28 lead in the third. The Sun countered with a 6-0 run late in the third to take a 34-30 lead into the fourth.
Cardinal Gibbons cut the deficit to two to begin the fourth quarter, but the Chiefs struggled in the fourth quarter to get quality shots inside. On missed shots or turnovers the Suns pushed into transition and converted on easy baskets by Bain and Battle.
A 9-2 run in the fourth quarter, which was capped by a spinning floater by Bain, gave the Suns a 43-32 lead. That run was the difference as the Chiefs began to foul to extend the game. Cardinal Gibbons was only able to get the deficit down to 10 points.
US (15-7): Bain 17, Battle 16, Bullock 14, Baton 8, Hewitt 7. CG (19-4): Morales 22, Andino 14, Brooks 8, Goosby 8. Halftime: US 26-18. Assist: Hewitt 6, Barton 4, Bullock 2, Allen 2, Bain 3. Rebounds: Bain 12, Hewitt 6, Battle 4, Barton 3, Morales 5, Simmons 4, Goosby 4.