Miami Norland coach Lawton Williams III has waited for his team — young yet talented — to break loose this season, improving in elements of the game such as better shot selection and ball movement.
Its progression continued as the host and defending Class 6A state champion Vikings cruised past the Pembroke Pines Jaguars 80-59 in a Regiona 4-6A semifinal Tuesday night.
“We made shots,” Williams III said. “We hadn’t scored like that in a while. That may be the game to get us over the top. By no means are we satisfied.”
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).
Norland (23-5), which has won three state titles since 2006, will play the winner of Fort Myers and Island Coast on Saturday night.
“Getting that lead in the first quarter really took us off, and we just sustained the lead the whole game,” Johnson said.
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 4-3A final — Westminster Christian 47, Florida Christian 40: The Warriors may have lost the district championship to the Patriots, but they found redemption.
The Warriors made their comeback after defeating Archbishop Curley in the quarterfinal.
“In the district championship [Florida Christian] outplayed us, and all we wanted was the chance to come back and play them again,” Westminster coach PJ Brown said.
The Warriors’ comeback will send them to the Region 4-3A final against Coral Springs Christian on Saturday.
It was an outstanding team effort according to Brown, but it was Diego Miller and Matt McLean who led in points, scoring 10 and 13, respectively.
COREY W. CAMPBELL
WC (19-9): Miller 10, McLean 13, J. Raine 4, Cronkrite 2, M.Raine 7, Blanco 6, Maldonado 3, Barbato 2. FC (11-15): Hernandez 3, Wicks 3, Cardoza 10, Sikora 13, Herschman 2, Perez 9.
• Region 4-2A semifinal — Westwood 66, Calusa 53: Westwood turned on an extra gear in the final quarter to pull away from Calusa Prep.
Westwood’s surge was led by swingman Danny Ramis with a couple key three-pointers in the final quarter.
Ramis had a game-high 23 points and added six assists and four steals.
Westwood coach Jose Amat said Ramis “was the catalyst. ... He really stepped up when he landed those threes.’’
This rematch was completely different than the first meeting on Dec. 4, when the Warriors blew out the Colts.
WC: Molina 5, Eugenior 9, Ramis 21, Thiago 20, Gonzalez 3. CP: Bowes 7, Alfonso 9, Carter 6, Vargas 23, Leonard 3, Uyaelunmog 2. Halftime: 33-33. Rebounds: Thiago 8. Assists: Ramis 6.