It took eight extra minutes, but Ely got it done.
Defending Class 7A champions Blanche Ely punched its ticket back to Lakeland with an 85-79 double-overtime victory over visiting Palm Beach Lakes Saturday night in the region 4-7A final.
The Tigers (25-1) will face Bartow in the Class 7A state semifinals next week at the Lakeland Center.
Tied at 63 at the end of regulation and tied at 71 at the end of the first overtime, Ely’s relentless pressure and surprisingly spry effort during the second extra period appeared to wear on Palm Beach Lakes in the second overtime. The Tigers scored first and opened up an 82-73 lead with just under two minutes to play after a Darrion Allen breakaway dunk.
That lead, which was the largest that any team held Saturday, was enough for Ely to completely stave off the Rams.
Richard Lee led the Tigers in scoring with 22 points. But Lee did most of his damage in the first half — having 16 points in the first 16 minutes while shooting 4-of-6 from three-point range — it was backcourt mates Lance Tejada and Dallas Cameron who came up big late.
Tejada finished with 19 points and five assists, with 17 of his points coming after the first half. Cameron ended up with 20 points. Allen added eight points and four assists.
Tigers head coach Melvin Randall, who remained relatively calm while the near capacity crowd was in a frenzy for much of the second half, tried to put the game into perspective.
“It was a spectators game. I’m speechless right now,” Randall said. “It was a hard fought game and I am glad that we came out on top. I knew it was going to be hard. [Palm Beach Lakes] really came to play. I’m just really glad that we won.
“I’m happy to be going to back to Lakeland,” he said with a relieved smile.
Blanche Ely trailed 63-58 with just over two minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers didn’t allow their dominant season to come to an end. Ely manufactured five points in the final two minutes to force the first overtime.
While Ely made its late comeback, Palm Beach Lakes (22-4) tried to take time off the clock and protect its narrow lead, but wound up going through a four-minute scoring drought that spanned through the end of regulation and the first two minutes of the first overtime period.
Khalil Thomas finished with 16 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks.
“We didn’t come out like I felt we were supposed to,” Thomas said. “But [Palm Beach Lakes] came ready to play and we just did what he had to do to win – simple as that.”
The Rams led throughout much of the first half. Leading by four at the end of one and by two at halftime after Kamil Williams sank a three-pointer at the buzzer to give his team a 34-32 lead.
PBL (22-4): Caines 20, St. Fort 20, Rideau 14, Williams 8, Cole 7, Coleman 6, Gates 4. ELY (25-1): Lee 22, Cameron 20, Tejada 19, Thomas 16, Allen 8. Halftime: PBL 34-32. Three-pointers: Lee 5, St. Fort 4, Tejada 3, Cameron 2, Coleman, Williams, Rideau, Cole. Rebounds: Thomas 17. Assists: Tejada 5. Steals: Lee 4. Blocks: Thomas 5.
• Region 3-8A final – Deerfield Beach 70, Jupiter 40: Haunted by Spanish River players celebrating a shocking Region 3-8A final upset win on Deerfield Beach’s court last season, the Bucks’ dynamic senior trio of Terence Johnson, Marcus Owens and Javaris Jenkins, made good on a promise it wouldn’t happen again.
Johnson scored eight of his 16 points in the decisive second quarter spurt, Owens added a game high 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Jenkins had 14 points as Deerfield Beach (28-4) stormed into the FHSAA Class 8A State final four with a 70-40 victory over Jupiter.
“All we’ve thought about for the past year is how Spanish River celebrated on our court.” Johnson said. “That playoff loss fueled us so we ran Jupiter off the court. We wanted to come out and send a message tonight that the next two games will be the same. We’ve come too far for it to end npw.”
Source Hoops No. 2 Deerfield Beach (28-4) advances to face No. 5 Oviedo Hagerty in the Class 8A State semifinals on March 1 at 8:30 p.m. at the Lakeland Center. No. 1 South Miami (25-2) faces Tampa Wharton (23-4) at 7 p.m.
Before leaving to a standing ovation with 1:21 left and the Bucks’ lead stretched to 66-37, the 6-3 Johnson punctuated his performance with an emphatic block of Warriors’ 6-11 center Grant Pelchen’s two-hand dunk attempt.
By that time, the familiar chant of “B-U-C-K-S P-R-I-D-E”, which accompanied Deerfield on its last trip to the State Final Four in 1999, when Julius Jenkins led the Bucks to its second state title, had reached a full crescendo inside the Bucks gym.
“This is good for the City of Deerfield Beach but we still have two more to go,’’ said sixth-year coach Kenny Brown, who has engineered the Bucks’ resurgence. “Last year on this same day we had a big letdown. I always kept it in the back of our players’ minds that last year, it could happen again, and not to take anything for granted.”
Bucks 6-8 center Joshua Huntley, in perhaps his best playoff performance, came alive for 12 points and 12 rebounds and the steady sophomore point guard Vanderbilt Carpenter added seven points and eight assists.
But this night belonged to the Bucks’ seniors who put this one on ice with a 15-1 second quarter spurt that knocked the wind out of Jupiter (20-6) for good.
With Deerfield holding a 17-16 lead with 4:21 left, Johnson hit two three-pointers, Owens had a putback before Carpenter, on a hard push upcourt, found Jenkins for his second three-pointer, which ultimately proved to be the back-breaker as the Bucks opened a 30-17 lead.
JUP (20-6): Pelchen 7, Zicaro 2, Blue 7, Troiano 2, Edgley 9, Depasquale 4, Zabiski 10. DB (28-4): Owens 17, Jenkins 14, Carpenter 7, T. Johnson 16, Huntley 12, Graham 2, Amos 4. Half: DB 32-20. Three-pointers: Blue 2, Zabiski 1, Jenkins 3, Owens 2, T. Johnson 2. Rebounds: Owens, Huntley 12. Assists: Carpenter 8. Steals: Owens 3.
• Region 4-5A final – American Heritage 77, Naples Lely 61: American Heritage’s Kobe Eubanks scored a game-high 26 points as the host Patriots defeated Naples Lely High School 77-61 in the region 4-5A final in Delray Beach.
American Heritage (22-7) advances to the state semifinals in Lakeland for the second consecutive season. The Patriots will face Palatka High School on March 1.
The Patriots utilized its height advantage against the Trojans throughout the game. The frontcourt of Drake LaMont and Jason Massey gave Lely (20-11) problems on the offensive boards. The Patriots went on a 15-5 run in the first quarter, which was aided by second-chance points on layups by LaMont inside the paint and Eubanks cutting to the basket.
“We knew that they did not have no one that was my size,” the 6-10 LaMont said. “I knew I had to do whatever I could do to get on the glass.”
LaMont finished with 19 points 15 rebounds and eight blocks for the Patriots.
After taking a 17-11 lead into the second quarter, Lely countered with an 8-0 run which was capped on a three-pointer by Karbiel Dirogene to take its first lead at 19-17. The Patriots ended the quarter on a 13- 4 run to take a 30-23 lead at the break.
Eubanks, who struggled offensively in the first half taking and missing multiple shots, attacked the basket to begin the third quarter. Eubanks posted up and drove past the smaller guards for layups. Combined with LaMont who scored eight points in the fourth quarter and their tight pressure defense, the Patriots took a 55-43 lead into the fourth quarter.
“I had to realize that if my shot is not falling, I can do other things like rebounding and getting my other teammates involved,” Eubanks said. He scored 11 of his 26 points in the third quarter.
Lely attempted to full-court press the Patriots to force turnovers in the final quarter, but the precise passing by the Patriots easily broke the Trojans’ press for layups. American Heritage led by as much as 16 points in the fourth quarter.
NL (20-11): Dirogene 19, Ronquette 13, Talko 13, Estilien 4, Gober 4, Greenidge 3, Milien 1. AH (22-7): Eubanks 26, LaMont 19, Ju. Massey 11, Mullings 10, Ja. Massey 4, McCormick 2, Borders 1. Halftime: AH 30-23. Rebounds: Lamont 15. Assists: Ju. Massey 8. Blocks: LaMont 8. Three-pointers: Dirogene 4, Eubanks 3, Ju. Massey 2, Gober 2, Ronquette, Talko.
• Region 4-3A final – Coral Springs Christian 62, Westminster Christian 34: After 13 years at Coral Springs Christian, head coach Steve Fitzgerald can finally take his team to Lakeland as the Crusaders dismantled Westminster Christian to clinch their first state tournament appearance.
The win not only ended Westminster Christian’s improbable run to the regional final, but also propelled the Coral Springs Christian boys’ basketball program to its first ever state tournament appearance.
With a chance to make history at stake, the Crusaders didn’t miss a beat.
“We came out with pressure and poise… we’ve been in big games all year so that helped us get ready for a game like this,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s very gratifying to get to this point after coming close a number of times.”
The Warriors relied on the three-pointer in the early stages of the game to keep the game close while the Crusaders asserted their dominance down low, drawing a number of fouls and earning frequent trips to the charity stripe.
Crusaders forward Nura Zanna finished with a team-high 19 points and seven rebounds.
By the half, the Crusaders opened up a 15-point lead and did not give up a single two-point field goal to the Warriors in the first two quarters.
CSC (22-8): Zanna 19, Clark 2, Bell 14, Pierre-Louis 2, Barnes 12, Prophete, Talent 8, Newman 4, Abadi 1. WCS (19-9): Miller 8, McLean 13, M. Raine 9, J. Raine 4. Halftime: CSC 32-17. Three-pointers: Bell 4. Rebounds: Zanna 7 13. Assists: Bell 3, Zanna 3. Steals: Prophete 4.
Pine Crest 17, Chaminade 6 (5)
WP: Steven Goldberg (2-0). LP: Toombs (0-1). Top performers: Goldberg 4 IP; 2-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI. Matt Rothenberg 3-4, HR, triple, double, 3 R, 4 RBI, Zack Kone 3-4, 2 doubles, triple, 2 R, 2 RBI. Chandler Cissel 2-4, HR, 3 RBI.
Cardinal Gibbons 8, Fort Lauderdale 5 (8)
WP: Leachman (1-0). CG: Tyler Norris squeezed in go-ahead run in top of 8th.
Late Friday – Cypress Bay 4, West Broward 2
WP: Courtney Methven (2-0). LP: Demeriuex. Top performers: Methven 7IP, 3H, 4K. Maddie Wideman 1-2, RBI, R. Lindsey Jacobs 1-3, RBI. M. Obier (WB) 2-3, RBI. CB 5-0.
Late Friday – Calvary Christian 13, Sheridan Hills 3 (6)
WP: C. Chang (5-0). LP: K. Petullo. Top performers: M. Veliz 4-5, double, 4 RBI. K Nevils 2-4, 3 RBI. CCA 5-0.
Late Friday – South Broward 18, Plantation 1
WP: Norris (2-5) LP: Boothe (1-4). Top performers: Norris 2 K. Fries H, 3 RBI. SB 2-5. PLA 1-4.
• Pine Crest 150.5, Calvary Christian 146, Highlands Christian 59.5, Somerset 6, North Broward Prep 4: Jordan Cabral (CCA) won long jump, triple jump, 200-meter dash; Allen Dawson (PC) won shot put; Nahel Abugattas (CCA) won discus throw; Josia Swinton (CCA) won high jump; Derek Logue (PC) won pole vault; Ryan Davis (HLC) won 110-meter hurdle, 300-meter hurdle; Dovi Gamble (CCA) won 100-meter dash; Pasha Gulibert (CCA) won 1600-meter run, 3200-meter run; Roger Pettingell (CCA) won 400-meter dash; Jordan Gershman (PC) won 800-meter run; PC won 3200-meter relay, 800-meter relay, 1600-meter relay; CCA won 400-meter relay.
• Late Thursday – Westminster Academy 144, Dade Christian 104, Gulliver 75.5, Coral Springs Christian 32, SF HEAT 25, Somerset 18, Upperroom Christian 16.5, NW Christian 11:
• Pine Crest 150, Calvary Christian 131, Somerset 34, Highlands Christian 28, North Broward Prep 21: Jenna Shortridge (NBP) won long jump; Jordana Abugattas (CCA) won triple jump; Taylor McDuffie (CCA) won shot put, discus throw; Alia Hammer (CCA) won high jump; Emily Gale (CCA) won pole vault; Channel Freman (SOM) won 100-meter hurdle; Dani Pendergast (PC) won 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash; Julia Montgomery (PC) won 1600-meter run; Ella Wurth (PC) won 400-meter dash, 800-meter run; Jessica Brownell (CCA) won 300-meter hurdle; Savanna Gornisiewicz (PC) won 3200-meter run; PC won 3200-meter relay, 1600-meter relay; SOM won 800-meter relay; CCA won 400-meter relay.
• Late Thursday – Westminster Academy 119.5, SF HEAT 106, Gulliver 80, Dade Christian 44, Coral Springs Christian 36.5, Upperroom Christian 33, NW Christian 5, Somerset 4:
• Late Friday – Pine Crest 6, Eastside 1: Josch Schneirov (PC) won singles No. 1 6-2. Sam Dern (PC) won singles No. 2 6-0. Elliot Seckler (PC) won singles No. 3 6-1.
• Late Thursday – Coral Springs 7, Monarch 0:
• Monarch 7, Coral Springs 0: Kendra Bunch (MON) won No. 1 singles 8-0. Dominique Henry (MON) won No. 2 singles 8-0. Giovanna De Almeida (MON) won No. 3 singles 8-0.
• Late Thursday – Archbishop McCarthy 13, Cardinal Gibbons 7.
• Vero Beach 21, Pine Crest 7: