LAKELAND -- - Deerfield Beach watched its state championship dream fade away with one flick of Hagerty sharp-shooter Luke Doyle’s wrist at the Lakeland Center on Friday night, when a three-pointer at the buzzer lifted the unranked Huskies past the Bucks 57-54 in the FHSAA Class 8A state semifinals.
Entrenched as the No. 2 team in Class 8A all season and featuring three Division I players — Javaris Jenkins, Terence Johnson and Marcus Owens — Deerfield Beach (26-5) made a spirited fourth-quarter comeback to tie it at 54 with 18.4 seconds remaining, only to witness Doyle’s shocking heroics.
Huskies players stormed the court to celebrate Doyle’s third game-winning shot in the playoffs as Deerfield Beach players and coaches surveyed the scene in disbelief.
The Bucks, an outstanding three-point shooting team throughout the season, simply went cold at the wrong time. The Bucks finished 1 of 12 from long distance. Joshua Huntley (14 points) and Vanderbilt Carpenter (12) were the two lone bright spots. Owens had seven points, Johnson had eight points and Jenkins finished with two points. Neither Bucks’ head coach Kenny Brown nor Bucks’ players were available for interviews following the game.
That left Deerfield Beach assistant coach Javon Glenn to field questions from the media. Glenn said the Bucks’ top three players, who led the Bucks to its first final four since 1999, might have put too much pressure on themselves.
“Not trying to speak for them but maybe it’s the combination of four years of hard, hard work,” Glenn said. “And to be so close, maybe they put too much pressure on themselves to go out and force the issue a little bit, which led them to take some shots which weren’t good shots. But they did it all and were passionate in trying to win.”
Hagerty (26-5), which faces South Miami in the Class 8A state championship game Saturday, led 47-41 with 4:15 left before Owens’ three-pointer pulled the Bucks within 49-48 with 3:13 left. But Huskies forward Logan Hovey converted a dunk to push the lead to 54-52 with 42 seconds left before Johnson hit two free throws, setting the stage for Doyle, who scored a game-high 21 points.
HAG: (26-5): Doyle 21, Hovey 20, Castaneda 14, Nagel 2. DB (26-5): Huntley 14, Carpenter 12, Johnson 8, Owens 7, Kelly 7, Williams 4, Jenkins 2. Halftime: HAG 30-26. Three-pointers: Doyle 3, Castaneda 2, Owens. Rebounds: Huntley 9, Hovey 9. Assists: Carpenter 6. Steals: Owens 3, Carpenter 3, Castaneda 3