Two weeks ago, South Miami captured its first GMAC title since 1999, the team’s consistent play garnering expectations as the county’s best chance in Class 8A.
On Thursday night, however, Coral Reef pulled within two points with 5:56 remaining in the third quarter after trailing by as many as 12. Cobras coach Robert Doctor called a timeout, upset that his defense kept allowing the Barracudas multiple shot opportunities.
His tactic worked as South Miami closed the quarter on a 17-5 run and extended the lead further in the final eight minutes to beat Coral Reef 80-60 in the regional quarterfinal at Colzie’s Court.
“I gave them a pep talk and they got back in and did what I wanted them to do,” Doctor said.
Five players finished in double figures for the Cobras (25-3), led by senior point guard Jorge Perez-Laham’s 19. He and senior shooting guard Michael Blanco combined for seven three-pointers. Their four third-quarter baskets countered the Coral Reef attack.
Blanco scored 15 points off the bench, seven of which came in the first quarter. Senior center Antravious Simmons recorded a double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds.
Senior BJ Glasford scored a game-high 27 points, while senior Cedric Hankerson added 20 for the Barracudas (19-8). Glasford collected eight consecutive points for Coral Reef to close the second quarter and to open up the third.
South Miami will face host Palmetto on Tuesday night in the regional semifinal, the furthest the program has made it in the postseason since 2009.
“I just come in to knock down shots, play defense and get stops,” said Blanco, who tore his left ACL in November against Norland. “This is my senior year, so I have to play through.”
SM (25-3): Perez-Laham 19, Simmons 18, Blanco 15, Joseph Lopez 14, John Cratit 10, Ketrick Bartley 3, Robert Brown 1. CR (19-8): Glasford 27, Hankerson 20, Malik Audain 4, Zavier Peart 4, AJ Stevens 3, Jacob McCary 2. Half: 40-32. Three-pointers: Blanco 4, Perez-Laham 3, Hankerson 3, Glaston 3, Cratit 2, Stevens 1. Rebounds: Simmons 14. Steals: Hankerson 3. Blocks: Lopez 2.
• Region 4-8A quarterfinal — Palmetto 51, Columbus 44: Daniel Coffey had 21 points and Palmetto (19-7) shook off a bad-shooting night to beat Columbus (18-8) on their home court.
The Panthers trailed 23-21 at halftime, but Coffey and Kory Schultz each converted on fastbreak baskets and, along with center Nikola Parlic, keyed a 10-0 run in the third quarter.
“Sometimes it’s going to happen for you shooting the ball, but when it doesn’t you have to box out and work hard defensively, and that’s what we did,” Palmetto coach Rick Landera said.
Johnny Minervino (five points, eight assists) and center Kevin O’Brien (14 points) kept the pressure on, but Columbus failed to capitalize on key possessions and missed some point-blank opportunities.
O’Brien executed a deft spin in the post while getting foul but missed the easy layup, then went on to miss both free throws. An O’Brien three-point attempt that would have narrowed the lead to one hit every edge of the rim before falling out, and Trent Wasser’s two free throws with 21 seconds left sealed the game for Palmetto.
• Region 4-8A quarterfinal — Hialeah Gardens 55, Miami Springs 31: Not having starting center Alvaro Simoza proved to be little trouble for defending state champion Hialeah Gardens as the Gladiators, thanks mainly to a big night from Adrian Gonzalez, rolled past Miami Springs. Gardens will travel to take on Miami High in the Stings gym on Tuesday in a rematch of last year’s regional semifinal.
Gonzalez finished the night with more than half of his team’s points (28) while also pulling down eight boards, dishing out two assists and blocking two shots. Simoza went down with an injured right knee in Gardens’ district championship game victory over Carol City last week and had an MRI earlier in the day on Thursday.
“I’m the leader on this team so it was up to me to pick us up tonight with Alvaro not here,” said Gonzalez. “It’s all about us sticking together and stepping up our game and if I have to carry this team back to Lakeland again, that’s what I’ll do.”
“The irony is that it was a year ago right about now that we lost Gian Clavell who was averaging 18 points a game and we went on to win a state title,” said Gardens head coach Marcos Molina who saw his team improve to 22-5. “Alvaro was averaging 18 a game as well and while we’re still hoping maybe he can come back, we’re preparing to move on without him. I was proud of our kids tonight. We really stepped things up defensively and played good lockdown defense which reflects in the final score.”
Springs, making its first regional appearance since 2007, finished 13-14 and was led by Victor Troya with 14 points.
HG (22-5): Gonzalez 28, Huertas 7, Sanchez 6, Leonardo 6, Kurnick 4, Frias 2, Scilingo 2. MS (13-14): Troya 14, Fisher 5, Olivares 5, Reinvel 3, Thomsas 2, Adlerate 2. Halftime: HG 26-12. Three-pointers: Troya 2, Olivares, Reinvel, Leonardo. Rebounds: Gonzalez 8, Leonardo 8. Assists: Huertas 5. Steals: Huertas 4
• Region 4-6A quarterfinal — Norland 48, Archbishop McCarthy 39: Norland boys’ basketball moved one step closer in its quest for back-to-back Class 6A state championships as the Vikings outlasted Archbishop McCarthy.
Vikings head coach Lawton Williams described the regional quarterfinal victory as a “sloppy” one, but he’ll take it over the alternative.
“Playoffs aren’t about style points; you get the ‘W’ and move on,” Williams said. “We still have things we have to work on, like limiting turnovers, but we just have to keep winning and moving on.”
Archbishop McCarthy remained within striking distance for most of the game, but the Vikings’ signature defense broke the Mavericks down in the fourth quarter to move Norland into the regional semifinals.
Key shots from beyond the arc kept Archbishop McCarthy in the game early on, but turnover after turnover coupled with fading shot accuracy as the game wore on doomed the Mavericks against the aggressive Norland defense.
Vikings center Tyrell Williams posted 10 rebounds and added eight points to go along with guard Zachary Johnson’s game-high 11 points.
NOR (22-5): McKnight 7, Johnson 11, Roberts 4, Henry 8, Huell 2, Williams 8, Deceus 3, Jean-Baptiste 2, Mike 1, McCrea 2. ABM (18-8): Moya 8, Thorn 10, Talbot 7, Richard 8, McBride 2, Duren 2, Arias 1. Halftime: NOR 21-16. Three-pointers: Thorn 2, McKnight. Rebounds: Williams 10. Assists: Johnson 5. Steals: Johnson 4. Technical Fouls: Bedward.
• Region 4-6A quarterfinal — Pembroke Pines Charter 80, Northwestern 71: the Northwestern Bulls could do no wrong in the first 16 minutes of play, countering every rally by Pembroke Pines en route to a 40-32 halftime lead.
But it was all Jaguars the rest of the way as they defeated the Bulls.
Adam Ali handled the load offensively for the Jaguars, finishing 14-15 while picking up 36 points, primarily in the paint.
The Bulls stunned the Jaguars in the first quarter, rallying to finish the quarter with a 21-14 lead that would grow by halftime. But the Jaguars defense limited the Bulls to 12 points in the third quarter to take a 54-52 lead.
With 2:21 remaining in the fourth, Leon Manior was fouled while attempting a three-point shot and the Bulls trailing by four. But with a chance to cut the deficit to one, Manior missed his first two shots.
Satchell scored the final four points for the Jaguars in the last five seconds of regulation. The Jaguars will take on Norland on Tuesday at 7 pm.
PP (19-3): Cheatam 10, Satchell 20, Ali 36, Johnson 2, Meade 9, Gardner 3. NW (16-9): Greene 13, Kelly 4, Manior 4, Nottage 28, Curry 2, Griffin 4, Reynolds 14, Bellamy 2. Halftime: NW 40-32. Recounds: Reynolds, 4. Assists: Nottage 2. Steals: Ali 2.
• Region 4-4A quarterfinal — Gulliver 59, Doral Academy 57: Antonio Ralat led the Raiders with 22 points in a well-fought quarterfinal against the Firebirds.
After trailing by double digits through most of the game Doral cut it to 53-47 after three minutes into the fourth quarter. From there the Firebirds didn’t back down.
Gulliver will face Ransom Everglades in the regional semifinal on Tuesday.
COREY W. CAMPBELL
GUL(22-6): Chasin 8, Beattie 5, Ralat 22, Carreras 1, Lafuente 8, Thomas 10, Kadji 5. RAN (16-12): Ruiz 22, Reese 4, D. Fernandez 12, Pierre 4, Mendia 7, Marcondes 4, Solivan 4.
• Region 4-4A quarterfinal — Ransom Everglades 90, Key West 49: Senior Sam Singer led Ransom Everglades with 30 points.
Singer, whose 18th birthday was on Thursday, scored all of his points in an 11-minute stretch during the second and third quarters.
The University of California commit added four rebounds and four assists.
Seniors Khambrel Roach and Julian Marx contributed with 18 and 20 points, respectively. Junior Trey Mourning, son of Heat legend Alonzo Mourning, added six points and five blocks.
Ransom (26-2) will face Gulliver Prep at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the 4-4A regional semifinals.
RE (26-2): Singer 30, Marx 20, Roach 18, Mourning 6, Parker 4, Ertel 5, Campano 3, Rivian 2, Stern 2. KW (11-9): Acosta 7, Thompson 13, German 3, Valdez 24, Rivera 2. Half: 42-27. Three-pointers: Valdez 3, Singer 3, Marx 4, Roach 1, Ertel 1, Campano 1. Rebounds: Singer 4, Mourning 3, Stern 5, Ertel 3, Thompson 3, Valdez 2, Ashe 1. Assists: Singer 4, Ascota 3. Blocks: Mourning 5.
• Region 4-4A quarterfinal — University School 51, Booker T. Washington 48: The Suns (17-7) were able to hang on despite a late comeback by the Tornadoes (19-8) at Nova Southeastern University School. The Suns will play the region 4-4A semifinal at Archbishop Carroll.
Booker T. Washington had the ball with 1.5 seconds to play, down 51-48. The Tornadoes had to take the ball out under the basketball at the other end of the court. The long inbound pass went to guard Devin Holcomb, but he was unable to put up a shot in time. When the game ended the home fans rushed the court to congratulate the Suns.
Jalen Battle led the Suns with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Center Maquedius Bain also had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Holcomb led Booker T. with 18 points.
US: Battle 19, Bain 15, Bollock 8, Hewitt 5, Barton 4. BTW: Holcomb 18, Jackson 13, Spiller 5, Passmore 5, Pitpit 5, Henvil 2. Halftime: US 19-15. Three-Pointers: Holcomb 3, Battle 2, Hewitt, Bollock, Spiller, Pitpit. Rebounds: Jackson 11. Assists: Hewitt 7. Steals: Hewitt 3.
• Region 4-3A quarterfinal — Florida Christian 48, Miami Country Day 40 - FC: Hernandez 6, Wicks 9, Cardoza 17, Sikora 10, Herschman 4, Jane 4. MCD: Parezo 6, Alvarez 3, Sherwood 2, Zimmer 18, Gomez 6, Kxidd 5. Rebounds: Sikora 11. Assists: Wicks 5. Steals: Cardoza 4. Blocks: Sikora 10