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.”