With all due respect to any team in the BCAA Big 8 Boys' Tournament not named Boyd Anderson and Blanche Ely, it’s the likelihood of BA-Ely IV in the championship game on Saturday creating the biggest buzz around town.
If projections hold true, the Fort Lauderdale gym will be at standing-room-only capacity to watch the Class 7A No. 2 Cobras (18-3) and two-time defending Class 7A state champion Tigers (18-2) renew a riveting rivalry that could extend to six meetings this season.
Suddenly Boyd Anderson looms as Ely’s biggest roadblock to a state final four appearance after rallying from a nine-point deficit to beat its District 14-7A rival 65-57 last Wednesday.
That victory gave Boyd Anderson, led by 6-6 Nick Eubanks and transfers Dondre Duffus and Rodney Simeon, a 2-1 season edge and dropped the top-ranked Tigers to No. 3 in 7A.
“We felt like we let two games against Boyd Anderson slip away,’’ said Tigers star guard Lance Tejada (23.8 points per game). “I’m really not worried at all. We still have a state title to defend. They haven’t proven anything yet. Two regular-season victories. That doesn’t mean anything right now.’’
Before the Tigers and one of the state's top rim protectors in 6-7 Therrell Gosier can even think payback, it will have to deal with Flanagan (14-6) and its high-wire act guard Kyanti Blyden in the quarterfinals on Wednesday at 8.
Boyd Anderson opens against Cypress Bay (14-8) at 6:30.
During the first round of Class 5A regionals four days before, Douglas managed to advance despite wasting multiple scoring opportunities, despite a 1-0 win over Park Vista.
This time, the failure to convert cost the Eagles a shot at advancing in the state playoffs as district rival West Boca Raton scored the only goal it would need early in the second half, eliminating Douglas, 1-0, in Tuesday's Class 5A round of 16 matchup at Douglas.
The Bulls (16-1-3), who avenged their only loss of the season (to Douglas), will face Vero Beach in Friday's regional semifinal. It was the Bulls’ first victory over the Eagles (18-3-2) after three tries, finishing with a 1-1-1 split.
"At halftime, I felt we should have been up 2-0, 3-0," Eagles coach Stu Katz said. "I told them we can't squander the quality scoring chances against a good team like this. And we still had more chances in the second half."
West Boca's Bridget Clark scored the lone goal after getting open about 10 yards in front of Douglas keeper Liz Gonzalez, with the assist coming from Kelly Harris.
"How she ended up being so open like that in the box is frightening," Katz said. "If an offsides wasn't called, then it was a really bad defensive mistake."
The Bulls went on a retreat mode after the goal with Douglas unable to convert at least two close-range shots.
Rough, physical play made up the scoreless first half as each team took seven shots on goal.
Douglas had the better scoring chances. The Eagles best chance came in the 32nd minute when forward Vanessa Agudelo had a close-range shot right at a diving West Boca keeper Elizabeth Caputo.
Agudelo had taken a pass from Brittany Berins, who made the play without her left cleat after contact with a West Boca player resulting in a non-call.
"There were contacts I felt were obvious calls," senior Monica Rojas said. "But the difference in the end was them being able to convert on the few opportunities they had, while we didn't on the many chances we had."
• District 3A-15 Qaurterfinal: Sagemont 60, Somerset Central 10: SAG (16-7): Provenzano 19, Black 10, Rucker 10, Smith 5, Jackson 12, Correa 2, Cole 2. SC (1-6): Riggins 4, Barnes 2, Avril 2, Joseph 2. Rebounds: Jackson 11, Cole 8, Smith 6. Assists: Black 5, Jackson 5, Rucker 4, Provenzano 3. Steals: Rucker 7, Provenzano 3. Three-pointers: Smith 1, Provenzano 1, Riggins 1. SAG will play Curley Thursday.
• District 3A-15 Quarterfinal: Doctors Charter 62, Hialeah Educational 4: DC (4-3): Exalen 4, Bruno 2, Floyd 2, Heard 8, Wilder 4, Lamour 2, Guitierrez 22, Saunders 16, Balbenmet 2. HE (2-5): Torres 4.
• Arhcbishop Curley 55, International School 11: ABC (5-2): Wiggins 6, Cherry 15, Savain 5, Forbes 3, Lucien 3, Poulard 6, Pierre 6, Desarmes 11. IS (0-7): Allen 2, Chevallier 3, Jeanty 2, Bernard 4.
• American Prep 58, Hollywood Christian 54: AP (23-5): Coleman 3, Avery 4, Sawyer 11, Lindsay 13, Williams 5, Allen 22. HC (15-12): Will 2, Holmes 5, Jackson 9, Gertener 33. Rebounds: Lindsay 14. Assists: Coleman 8. Steals: Avery 5. Three-pointers: Jackson 1, Coleman 1, Sawyer 1, Lindsay 1, Williams 1, Allen 2, Gertener 4. Half HC 30-28.
BCAA Big 8 quarterfinals at Fort Lauderdale: Boyd Anderson vs. Cypress Bay, 6:30; Blanche Ely vs. Flanagan, 8
District 12-8A final at Cypress Bay: 7
District 15-7A semifinals at Nova: South Broward vs. St. Thomas Aquinas, 6; Nova vs. Plantation, 8
District 14-6A semifinal: Pines Charter at Stranahan, 7