With a trip to the final four in Lakeland on the line and trailing University School by five late in the third quarter, the Raiders closed out the final nine minutes on a 28-3 run to pull away and defeat the Suns before a standing-room-only crowd at Ransom. The Raiders will take on Orlando Lake Highland Prep, last year’s state runner-up, in a Class 4A state semifinal on Tuesday at The Lakeland Center.
“Just a great moment and magnificent achievement for our program,” said Ransom head coach Claude Grubair. “I’m happy for everyone but mostly for those kids out there celebrating.
Ransom (27-2) needed all the chemistry it could muster up as University (18-8), thanks to some effective work down low by its big man Maquedius Bain, went on a 13-0 run to go from down 17-10 to up 23-17 midway through the second quarter and led most of the way until early in the fourth. All of the time, RE’s leading scorer and California commit Sam Singer (27.5 ppg) struggled from the floor missing every single three pointer (eight) he threw up and had just eight points at halftime.
Trailing 41-36 with just over a minute left in the third quarter, the momentum swung in Ransom’s favor and never turned back. The Raiders scored the final four points of the third and first five of the fourth to take a 45-41 lead.
Then, after a Jalen Battle three pointer which would be the Suns’ only points of the fourth quarter cut the lead to one, RE’s Julian Marx nailed back-to-back three pointers and Khambrel Roach nailed one after that to put the Raiders up by 10 and they pulled away from there.”
“The first half was frustrating but it was a matter of hanging in there and knowing good things would eventually happen,” said Singer who went on to finish with 22 points, seven assists and three steals. “This is a big moment for our program and now we want to keep it going in Lakeland.”
“For some reason we just got away from what we had been having success with for the first three quarters,” said University coach Adrian Sosa. “We just lost our patience and stopped running our sets but you have to give them (Ransom Everglades) some credit for that as well, they’re a terrific basketball team and were the better team tonight.”
US (18-8): Bain 18, Barton 8, Battle 7, Bullock 6, Allen 5. RE (27-2): Singer 22, Mourning 15, Stern 9, Marx 8, Roach 7, Ertel 3. Halftime: US 29-28. Three-pointers: Marx 2, Barton 2, Mourning, Stern, Ertel, Roach, Battle, Allen. Rebounds: Mourning 11. Assists: Singer 7. Steals: Singer 3. Blocks: Mourning 3
• Region 4-6A final — Norland 85, Fort Myers 59: Behind the strong play of guard Zachary Johnson and small forward Larry McKnight, defending Class 6A state champion Norland (24-5) rolled visiting Fort Myers.
Johnson had a game-high 26 points, including 15 points in the first-half to help the Vikings advance to their second state final four in a row. McKight added 17 points.
Featuring a trio of big-men over 6 foot 7, the Vikings held a significant size advantage over Fort Myers. Norlandwon the rebounding battle and was able to score more points in the paint, butwas outshot from beyond the three-point line.
The three-point shot was one ofthe only things that keep Fort Myers competitive in the game. Entering thethird quarter, the Green Wave (25-5) trailed by 17 points, but a series ofthrees cut into Norland’s lead.