American Heritage’s boys’ basketball team got key contributions from Drake Lamont and junior Jeremy Mullings in the fourth quarter as the host Patriots defeated Dillard 64-62 in a Region 4-5A semifinal in Delray Beach.
The game was moved from the Plantation campus to the American Heritage-Delray Beach campus because of the need of a larger facility.
Kobe Eubanks led the Patriots with 17 points and five rebounds. Lamont followed with 16 points and 14 rebounds. American Heritage (21-7) will face Naples Lely in the regional final Saturday.
With four seconds remaining in the game and American Heritage clinging to a 64-62 lead, Dillard’s (15-11) Tyson Grace drove the ball to the middle of the lane. The 6-10 Lamont rotated on defense and forced Grace to put up a tough floater that hit the front rim.
“We were in a full-on denial [defense],” Lamont said. “We took away their main option and if I had to leave my man, I had to come help.”
With the score tied at 48-48 entering the fourth quarter, Dillard went on a 5-0 run which was capped off on a steal, layup and foul by Arthur Kennedy to give the Panthers a 53-48 lead.
The quick run by the Panthers did not shake the Patriots.
“This is the fourth time that we have played them. That has happened every game that we play them,” Patriots coach Charles Stephenson said. “We remained confident.”
The Patriots countered by going inside to Lamont for baskets. The Panthers doubled Lamont hard, which left Patriots’ shooters Josh Borders and Mullings open on the perimeter. Consecutive three-pointers by both fueled a Patriots 10-0 run and gave the Patriots a 58-53 lead. Mullings scored all five of his points in the game within that run.
Dillard countered with a 4-0 run with 2:40 remaining, which was led by Tristan Pendergraph. He scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers offense struggled to score in half-court sets.
“It’s going to be a game of runs,” Dillard coach Darryl Burrows said. “They were able to sustain their runs.”
The Patriots got timely defensive stops by Jason Massey blocking shots and team rebounding in the final possessions.
“It was about coming together and playing hard,” Eubanks said. “I knew that if I wasn’t hitting from the field, I had to help my team by doing something else.”
DIL (15-11): Pendergraph 15, Kennedy 11, Walker 11, Grace 7, T. Smith 6. AH (21-7): Eubanks 17, Lamont 16, Mullings 5. Halftime: American Herigate 31-29. Rebounds: Lamont 14, Mullings 6 Eubanks 5. Assists: Lamont 6. Three-pointers: Eubanks, Borders, Mullings, Grace.
• Region 3-8A semifinal — Deerfield Beach 54, Cypress Bay 34: It took a little while, but once Deerfield Beach got going, nothing was going to slow the Bucks down as they used their superior height and athleticism to pull away in the second half and cruise to a win over Cypress Bay in a Region 4-8A semifinal game at Cypress Bay High School.
And with the win, Deerfield advances back to its second regional final in a row. The Bucks will look to make amends for last year’s six-point upset loss at home to Spanish River when they host Jupiter on Saturday night with a chance to advance to their first final four since 1999.
“I always remind them of how that felt last year and that usually keeps their attention,” said Deerfield Beach coach Kenny Brown, who saw his team, ranked No. 4 in the state, improve to 27-4. “We finally got things going in the second half tonight and really got some good defensive stops and turnovers, which created a lot of transition points.”
The Bucks led by just eight at the half (23-15) but then came out and outscored the Lightning 18-3 from the opening of the third quarter until one minute into the fourth quarter to open up a 41-18 lead, which all but ended the issue.
Severely outsized, Cypress Bay (19-6), which got clobbered on the boards (42-13), needed a big night from its three-point shooters and got exactly the opposite as the Lightning finished 4 of 18 from beyond the arc.
Senior Marcus Owens was the catalyst for the Bucks as he led all scorers with 21 points. He also pulled down eight rebounds and recorded four steals.
“That was tough for us last year [Spanish River loss], and we wanted to get back there and get it right this time, so we’re looking forward to Saturday night,” Owens said.
DB (27-4): Owens 21, Carpenter 12, Johnson 11, Jenkins 6, Huntley 2, Kelly 2. CB (19-6): Udine 12, Pollack 6, Bulengo 4, Bach 4, Jurka 2, Arias 2, Barnes 2, Medina 1, Joson 1. Halftime: DB 23-15. Three-pointers: Owens 2, Udine 2, Pollack 2. Rebounds: Jenkins 10, Huntley 10. Assists: Carpenter 3. Steals: Owens 4
Region 4-6A semifinal — Norland 80, Pines Charter 59: Pembroke Pines Charter — in just its third postseason appearance in program history — knew it needed to play its best against defending Class 6A state champion Miami Norland if it hoped for an upset.
A cold streak toward the end of the first quarter and into the second proved too insurmountable of a deficit as the host Vikings cruised past the Jaguars.
Junior Zachary Johnson scored 29 points, including 10 of his team’s 22 first-quarter points. From the final minutes of the opening quarter until Pines Charter’s bucket with 4:42 remaining in the second, the Vikings went on a 17-2 run.
Its stifling defense fueled a 45-27 halftime lead. Each Viking scored at least one point on the night. Senior Maljhum McCrea added 11 off the bench.
Sophomore Prince Adam Ali scored a team-high 29 points, 15 of which came in the first half, for the Jaguars (19-4). Both sophomore Haniff Cheatam (11) and senior Justin Satchell (12) also recorded double-digit points.
“We made shots,” Norland coach Lawton Williams III said. “We hadn’t scored like that in awhile. That may be the game to get us over the top. By no means are we satisfied.”
With a victory, Pines Charter would have achieved a program best in postseason play. Norland (23-5), which has won three state titles since 2006, will play the winner of Fort Myers and Island Coast on Saturday night.
CHRISTINA DE NICOLA
NOR (23-5): Johnson 29, McCrea 11, Tyrell Williams 9, Dewan Huell 8, Larry McKnight 6, Shering Henry 4, Ryan Mike 4, Maurice McDaniel, Demari Bedward, Dalvin Roberts 2, Jovany Deceus 1. PPC (20-4): Ali 29, Justin Satchell 12, Haniff Cheatam 11, Matthew Johnson 4, Wade Meade 3. Half: 45-27. Three-pointers: Johnson 4, Satchell 2. Rebounds: Williams 12. Steals: Ali 4, Johnson 4. Blocks: Williams 3.
• Region 4-4A semifinal — University 72, Archbishop Carroll 66: The Suns narrowly escaped a heartbreaking defeat at Archbishop Carroll, coming away with a slim victory and moving one step closer to their goal: a trip to the state tournament.
“We played great basketball for about 32 minutes and by the end we were just hanging on,” Suns coach Adrian Sosa said. “At this point in the year win is a win. We’re one step closer to our goal… one step away.”
After a fast-paced first half, the Suns opened up the game in the third quarter, using their advantage down low to take a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs, showing resilience throughout the night, began to slowly eat away at the Suns’ lead to bring the game, and the home crowd, back to life in the final minutes.
With 38 seconds to go, the Bulldogs made it a two-point game thanks to an aggressive press defense that had caught the Suns off guard over the course of the final eight minutes of play.
But Suns center Maquadius Bain, dominating from inside the paint for the entirety of the game and finishing with 27 points and 13 rebounds, made several big free throws and defensive stops down the stretch to help the Suns hold on to their dwindling lead and the win.
UNI (18-7): Hewitt 9, Battle 10, Barton 11, Bullock 10, Allen 5, Bain 27. ABC (26-5): Lima 24, Garcia 7, Amaro 18, Cohen 3, Brimah 8, Brown 6. Three-pointers: Amaro 3. Rebounds: Bain 13. Assists: Hewitt 5. Steals: Battle 2.
• Region 4-7A semifinal — Blanche Ely 70, Northeast 43: Dallas Cameron scored 18 points and shut down Northeast’s perimeter scorers as Ely rolled past the Hurricanes.
The Tigers will host Palm Beach Lakes on Saturday in the regional finals for a chance to defend their state championship in Lakeland next week.
The Tigers, who beat Northeast three times this season prior to Tuesday night, came on blistering and pounced all over the Hurricanes jumping out to a 15-2 lead behind tenacious defense that led to layups and dunks.
Ely led 24-10 at the end of the first. The game never got closer than 15 points the rest of the way.
Khalil Thomas added 12 points, 13 rebounds and four steals and dominated inside, while his counterpart, Northeast’s Malik Price-Martin, settled for perimeter jumpers in leading the Hurricanes with 17 points, but little around the basket.
It all came down to defense, though, once again for the Tigers.
Their relentless pressure forced Northeast into multiple turnovers in the first half as they built a 36-17 lead at halftime.
“It’s pretty hard playing a team four times, keeping that intensity especially when you beat them the past three times, you have to keep up the same intensity as you did before, but you know we came in focused everyday this week knowing we had to play them again, studying film, maxed out on all the things we could possibly do. All we had to do was go on the court with intensity which we did,” Cameron said. “Our mentality is pressure, attack, defensive pressure, and once we get them down, we don’t let them up.”
The style in which the Tigers play has proven to be too much for opponents to handle. They only run with a seven-man rotation, but they never appear tired or play tired.
“Our practices are like game like situations, even worse so when the game comes, it is going to be easy. Everything we do is full intensity. We don’t have any drills that we walk through. We run to everything. It gets you not only physically conditioned, but mentally conditioned so when you get your second wind, the other team is standing on their knees panting, you are standing up like a stallion. It’s deflating,” Cameron said.
NE (10-10) – Price-Martin 17, Simonson 13, Osceola 8, King 2, Alerte 3. ELY (24-1) – Lee 4, Thomas 12, Allen 13, Cameron 18, Tejada 13, Gosier 8, Jackson 2. Half: Ely 36-17. Three-Pointers: Cameron 4, Allen, Price-Martin 3, Simonson 3, Osceola 2. Rebounds: Thomas 13. Assits: Tejada 8. Steals: Thomas, Allen 4. Blocks: Price-Martin 3.
• Region 4-2A semifinal — Zion Lutheran 66, Champagnat 64: A passion for the game was displayed at full intensity when two evenly matched teams in Zion Lutheran and Champagnat Catholic battled one another down to the final seconds.
Fighting for their playoff lives inside of a boisterous gym at Northwest Christian Academy, Zion Lutheran squeaked away with a two-point win with a game-winning layup by freshman Rashad Witty.
Entering the fourth quarter down, sophomore Keith Stone scored twenty five points and propelled Zion Lutheran to victory scoring nine points in the fourth quarter. On a wonderful out of bounds play call by Coach John Guion with twenty seconds remaining, Stone scored what would be the go ahead bucket to give Zion the lead 64-62.
“This sums up our whole season, we are very resilient,” said Coach Guion. “We work hard and refuse to lose.”
The Lions were lead by the sharpshooting Senior Lucas Holanda who was relatively quiet in the second half, but still finished the game with 19 points including 5 made three pointers. Second half adjustments were made to eliminate the threat of a marksman ending Zion Lutheran’s playoff run, after Holanda hit a 35 foot buzzer beater to close the first half. “They play with just as much resilience as we do,” said Guion. He’s a great shooter...we wanted to crowd him and not let him feel comfortable.”
D’JOUMBAREY A. MOREAU
ZL (22-7): Stone 25, Stubbs 17, Bornelus 11, Witty 7, Rojas 3, Pihoff 3. CC (20-4): Holanda 19, Leadon 11, Nairn 10, Labranche 9, Mackey 7, Domingues 6, Chapotin 2. Halftime: CC 29-28. Three-pointers: Holanda 5, Bornelus 3, Leadon 2, Labranche 1, Williams. Rebounds: Stone 10. Assists: Chapotin 7, Bornelus 6. Steals: Nairn 5, Chapotin 5