boys’ basketball

Blanche Ely guard Lance Tejada shines without the ‘fancy tricks’

 
 
Blanche Ely's Lance Tejada drives to the basket against Cardinal Gibbons’ Jose Morales during the Big 8 Boys Basketball Championship semifinal game, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, at Fort Lauderdale High School.
Blanche Ely's Lance Tejada drives to the basket against Cardinal Gibbons’ Jose Morales during the Big 8 Boys Basketball Championship semifinal game, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, at Fort Lauderdale High School.
Michael Laughlin / Sun Sentinel

flyon@MiamiHerald.com

In an era that dotes over the lightning quick cross-over, Blanche Ely star guard Lance Tejada III stands apart with an “old-school” yo-yo dribble.

Tejada’s deliberately paced move, straight out of an ESPN Classic, is the genesis for Tejada emerging as a big time closer for the two-time defending Class 7A state champion Tigers.

“Coming out of New York I never wanted to do all the fancy tricks with the ball,’’ Tejada said. “I was all about making the right play, controlling the game. I always watch how Chris Paul keeps his head up while dribbling. He is always trying to look for a teammate but can also take over a game in late game situations. He is a bull on the court, a tough point guard. I pattern my game after him.”

Class 7A No. 3 Ely (20-4) will need Tejada and his yo-yo dribble - which sets him up as a dual threat shooting three-pointers and attacking the rim, to be at its best when they visit Royal Palm Beach (20-7) in the 7A region quarterfinals on Thursday.

An Ely victory will most likely set up a highly anticipated fifth showdown against arch rival No. 2 Boyd Anderson in the region semifinals on Feb. 18. The Cobras have won three of four matchups against the Tigers this season.

While Ely has gotten timely contributions from Joshua Floyd, Javon Heastie, Courtney Anderson, Trevor Goodrum and Therrell Gosier, it is the East Carolina signee Tejada and his career-high 23.7 points per game which will have the biggest say in the Tigers’ bid for a three-peat.

Within that decided jump from 12 points per game last season, Tejada has done his best Mariano Rivera type closer imitation for Ely.

Tigers five-time state champion coach Melvin Randall said Tejada possesses all the intangibles to put teams away.

“What sets Lance apart, is that in crucial situations he wants the ball,’’ Randall said. “If we need a basket and it’s the fourth quarter, the ball is going in Lance’s hands. The other team will have to design a defense to stop him. I’m going to design something to get him the ball. Lance is a tough kid. He hates to lose.”

Tejada’s go-to move, the yo-yo dribble might not have the acclaim of Rivera’s infamous “cutter” pitch, but it shares similar game-closing results.

While Tejada keeps his two-handed dribble alive, defenders have to choose between backing off him to thwart his his strong dribble drive game or tight ball pressure to negate his three-point shooting. That split second indecision is all Tejada needs to make his counter move.

“Lance has put together a completely unique game,’’ Randall said. “He settles his defender down and then he hits them. He kind of says “I’m your friend”, then he blows by them or shoots the three. He gets them in that relaxation mode. He kind of hypnotizes them with that dribble.”

The cat and mouse game Tejada’s plays with his dribble has led to a prolific scoring season highlighted by 28 points against Class 5A No. 3 Cardinal Gibbons, 37 against Boyd Anderson and 31 points against Class 5A No. 4 Dillard.

Tejada scored a game-high 37 points, including seven three-pointers, against Boyd Anderson in the District 14-7A championship game last Saturday but was upstaged by Cobras guard Dondre Duffus who converted the game-winning free throws with 5.9 seconds left for the 55-54 Cobras’ victory.

If the Tigers can cool off the Warriors, who have won 14 of its past 15 games, Tejada will most likely get an opportunity to redeem himself against Duffus and the Cobras.

“I knew coming into this the season I would have to be on the floor a lot and would have to put the ball in the basket more,’’ Tejada said. “Whatever it takes to win, I will do it. Mr. Randall expects a lot from me and I can’t let him down. “

Read more Broward High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

  • Roundup

    Two Cooper City athletes sign with colleges

    Cooper City pitcher and first baseman Johnny Haney signed a scholarship with the Point Park University (Pittsburgh) baseball team. The left-hander is 6-0 so far this season with 31 strikeouts, three complete games and 1.28 ERA. He is hitting .317 with a homerun, 13 RBI and 16 runs scored.

  •  
Kristi Isabelle, a home schooled senior representing the South Florida HEAT Team, won the 300m hurdle during the Region 4-1A track meet on Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014, at Killian.

    Track and field

    Westminster’s James achieves rare sprint triple at regionals

    Westminster Academy’s Andrew James showed the Region 4-1A field at Dade Christian why he’s become one of the biggest box office draws in Florida.

  • Water Polo

    STA sweeps to district titles

    Anna Smith-Johnson scored three goals as St. Thomas Aquinas put a halt to Fort Lauderdale’s improbable turnaround season in Thursday’s District 10 title game at Fort Lauderdale.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category