Same round, same result.
The McArthur Mustangs defeated host Miami Beach 72-66 on Tuesday night in a Class 8A regional semifinal.
It was the second straight year that McArthur (27-7) had ended the season for Beach (16-12) in this round.
McArthur will play at South Miami in Saturday’s regional final. Last year, South Miami eliminated McArthur 70-60 in the regional finals.
Never miss a local story.
On Tuesday, Beach held a one-point lead at halftime, 39-38, but lost its grip on the game when McArthur started the third quarter on a 10-2 run.
McArthur had to contend with 7-foot Beach sophomore Zach Brown, the nation’s top-ranked center in his class, according to ESPN.
Brown had 30 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks. He made 13 of 25 shots, including five dunks, and he added 4 of 11 on free throws.
McArthur coach Warren Gale said that though other teams have double-teamed Brown, creating other openings for teammates, his Mustangs were able to play straight-up.
“We have big, athletic kids who were able to play behind him and force him to make moves,” Gale said. “We have size to combat his at times.”
McArthur hit nine three-pointers through three quarters, helping the Mustangs take a 58-51 lead into the fourth. In the final period, the Mustangs took the air out of the ball, making just three field goals – none from long range.
Beach drew within three points at 64-61, but McArthur made eight free throws in the final quarter to put the game away.
McArthur won it with balanced scoring, including 18 points from Felix Rivera-Vega, 15 from Terrell Turner, 14 from Sandro Noel and nine for Majestic Tejada.
“They stayed in a 2-3 zone,” Gale said of Beach, “and we have shooters.”
Aside from Brown, Beach also got 26 points from guard Kenneth Rolle. But the rest of the team added a combined total of just 10 points.
MC: Rivera-Vega 18, Turner 15, Noel 14, Tejada 9, Brown 4, Escobar 2, Jean 7, Boles 3.
MB: Brown 30, Rolle 26, Johnson 2, Galo 5, M.Melendez 3. Half: MB 39-38.
▪ Region 3-8A semifinal — Douglas 66, Deerfield Beach 64 (OT): Peter Affatati hit a desperation three-point shot with time running out in regulation, sending the game into overtime at 59-59.
Then the host Eagles went on to complete the comeback victory, outscoring the Bucks 7-5 with all the points in overtime scored on free throws in the teams’ fourth meeting of the season.
Douglas (17-9) will face Wellington in Saturday’s FHSAA round of eight.
Deerfield Beach had worked to gain a six-point advantage at 56-50 with 46 seconds remaining before Douglas pecked away at the lead in the closing seconds of regulation. Junior 6-7 center Zach Knecht, who finished with a game-high 28 points, hit a three-point jumper with 11.1 seconds remaining to cut the Bucks’ lead to 57-56.
Deerfield Beach center Jamal Wilburn (11 points, 10 rebounds) put the Bucks up by three with two free throws before the game-tying shot by Affatati, who finished with 16 points, sent the game into overtime. The teams had previously played in a five-overtime contest last week with Douglas prevailing to take the district title.
This time, Knecht then led the Eagles in OT, making five of six free throws to eliminate the Bucks (13-15).
DB (13-15): Taylor 17, Labadi 16, Grant 12, Wilburn 11, Mulder 8.
DOU (17-9): Knecht 28, Affatati 17, Jupiter 10, Merkle 3, Pemberton 3, Rottenberg 2. Half: 24-24. Rebounds: Wilburn 10, Grant 8, Alexandre 5. Blocked shots: Rottenberg 5, Abaev 3
▪ Region 4-4A semifinal — Monsignor Pace 74, Booker T. Washington 73: With the game on the line, Monsignor Pace guard Raul Paula usually isn’t the first or even the second option for the Spartans.
But when the ball found its way into his hands in the final moments Tuesday night, he did not disappoint.
Paula drained the winning three-pointer with 13 seconds remaining to complete a 74-73 come-from-behind victory over the Tornadoes.
“We all believe in each other and trust in each other. Any one of us could have taken that last shot,” Paula said. “The ball ended up in my hands and I’m just glad the shot went in.”
Down by 15 points and in desperate need of a spark with just minutes remaining in the game, Spartans guard CJ Fisher rallied Pace to a 15-0 run that helped tie the score with just under four minutes left in regulation.
Fisher finished with a game-high 39 points, 16 in the fourth quarter.
Now the Spartans will face Cardinal Newman in the Region 4-4A final Friday.
“This win gives us an opportunity to come to practice tomorrow, play one more game and see what we can do,” Monsignor coach Anthony Serro said.
After trailing for most of the first quarter, Booker T. Washington took the lead and was in command for most of the middle portion of the contest while the Spartans struggled to connect from the field.
The Tornadoes began to falter under the Spartans’ press defense, which led to flurry of turnovers and fast break points in the fourth quarter.
Forward Pierre Thelon led the way with 25 points for the Tornadoes and Donald Hutchinson added 21 points in the loss.
MP: Jean 13, Fisher 39, King 3, del Castillo 3, Paula 8, White 3, Bastian 2, Sainvil 3.
BTW: Stewart 4, Gator 2, Neal 6, Brown 1, Bunett 21, Hutchinson 14, Thelon 25. Halftime: BTW 46-36. Rebounds: Bastian 7. Assists: King 4. Steals: Jean 7. Three-pointers: Fisher 3, Paula 2.
▪ Region 4-8A semifinal — South Miami 52, Columbus 48: Sophomore guard Ezacuras Dawson III scored a game-high 16 points as host South Miami beat Columbus. .
With 19 seconds remaining and down by two, the Explorers (17-11) inbounded the ball. Dawson stole an errant pass and broke away for an easy layup as time expired to cement the victory for the Cobras (17-10), who will try to capture their third consecutive regional title Friday in a matchup with McArthur.
Columbus trailed most of the game but took its first lead since the early moments on senior guard Andy Byrne’s three-pointer with 4:05 remaining for a 44-43 advantage. Another bucket from behind the arc extended it to 4, but the Cobras answered back with six straight points. The teams would trade a free throw before the decisive play.
South Miami took a 15-8 lead in the first quarter thanks to four 3-pointers, including back-to-back buckets by Peter Davidson off the bench. But Columbus opened the second with seven straight points to trim the deficit to one before senior forward Malik Davis’ layup sparked a 7-2 run to give the Cobras a six-point advantage. The Explorers responded with an 8-3 run of their own to make it a 25-24 halftime score.
Byrne led Columbus with 14 points, while senior Moises Jattin contributed another 10. Sophomore center Latravian Glover added 10 for South Miami. In the previous three meetings, the games were decided by six points or less. The Cobras won the final three matchups of the 2014-15 season.
CHRISTINA DE NICOLA
SM (17-10): Dawson 16, Glover 10, I. Davis 8, Davidson 6, Barnev 5, Brown 3, M. Davis 2, Castro 2.
COL (17-11): Byrne 14, Jattin 10, Elias 8, Vanzant 8, Enjamio 5, Rodriguez 3. Half: SM 25-24. Three-pointers: Davidson 2, Byrne 2, I. Davis 2, Dawson 1, Glover 1, Enjamio, Elias 1. Rebounds: Brown 10. Assists: Vanzant 4. Steals: I. Davis 4. Blocks: Glover 2.
▪ Region 4-2A semifinal — Miami Christian 47, Calusa Prep 39: Miami Christian avenged its loss to district foe Calusa Prep in the same round last season and swept the season series.
The Victors (23-4) went into the fourth quarter up nine, but after missing the front end of a one-and-one on back-to-back trips up the floor, Calusa Prep (12-7) crept to within one with 2:25 remaining. Miami Christian then finished on a 9-2 run, doing most of its damage at the free-throw line.
Isaiah Reese led all scorers with 15 points.
“He’s the heart of our team,” said Miami Christian coach Andrew Moran. “When he goes, our team goes with him.”
Miami Christian will host Grandview Prep in regional finals at 7 p.m. Friday.
MC: Reese 15, Frye 9, Diaz 7, A. Fernandez 6, Allen 4, Joseph 4, Smith 2.
CAL: Colon 13, Matos 12, Araujo 8, Thompson 4, Pena 2. Halftime: MC 20-19. Three-pointers: Reese, Matos 2, Colon. Rebounds: Araujo 8. Assists: Reese, Allen Thompson 3. Steals: Fernandez, Reese, Matos 3. Blocks: Allen 2.
▪ Region 4-7A semifinal — Central 83, St. Thomas Aquinas 63: Known more for its football program’s multiple state championships, the revival of boys’ basketball at Miami Central High School continued Tuesday night.
Hosting St. Thomas Aquinas , the Rockets broke loose from a close first quarter and turned this one into a rout, cruising to avictory before a packed gym.
The win advanced Central (25-4) to only its second regional final in the past 34 years and first since 1998 but the task will be a big one Saturday night as the Rockets will host undefeated and No. 7 nationally ranked Blanche Ely in the regional final.
“Right now I’m really proud to say that we’ve brought the buzz back to this program, we figured we’d give football a little break,” said Central head coach Maurice Troupe with a smile. “We’ve got the alumni and administration behind us and the atmosphere here is a basketball atmosphere now. We know we’re going to be facing a great team in here Saturday night but I always tell the guys we’ve got to come out, do what we do, control what we can control and come out and play the game.”
Central was locked in a 12-12 tie late in the first quarter before the Rockets, led by Anthony Wilson’s game-high 19 points and six steals, went on a 14-1 to open up a 13 point lead. Up 38-23 at halftime, the Rockets came out and scored the first 10 points of the second half and coasted from there.
“They [Aquinas] came in with a packed-in zone defense and knew we would have to be patient at the start of the game,” said Troupe. “Once we were able to establish our defense and apply some full court pressure, it kind of allowed us to move the pace of the game up a little faster which turned it into our favor. The No. 1 thing was us defending, getting out on them creating steals and get some easy transition baskets.”
“Defense was the key tonight,” said Wilson. “Putting some pressure on them helped us create turnovers and really blow it open. Ely’s not really a big situation, we just have to be focused and our team has to come to play.”
Aquinas, which was looking for its first regional final berth since 2007, finished 18-9 and was led by Brandon Marshall with 16 points.
STA (18-9): Marshall 16, Akuchie 12, Arnette 11, Metzger 10, Hunter 8, Vogelsang 3, Maturah 2.
CEN (25-4): Wilson 19, Saunders 14, Turner 12, Wynn 12, McFadden 9, Nunnally 9, Wilkerson 5, Occi 3. Three-pointers: Saunders (3), Wilson, Wilkerson, Occi, Marshall, Arnette, Akuchie. Rebounds: Wynn 12. Assists: Saunders 8. Steals: Wilson 6
▪ Region 4-6A semifinal— Pines Charter 78, South Fork 53: Pines Charter reached, poked, and prodded persistently, grabbing loose basketballs and burning South Fork in a region at Flanagan.
“My team was hitting me in open spots and I was able to knock them down,” said Malik Harper, who had 12 points in the win. “They were finding me. I’m a transfer but it feels really good to be here and help out.”
The Jaguars (19-8) led 18-8 in the first quarter before exploding for a 46-21 halftime edge.
Haanif Cheatham paced Pines with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Joshua Ferguson had 15 points and 13 rebounds in the victory. Kaiman Patterson led the Bulldogs (22-3) with 14 points.
The Jaguars face Norland Saturday in the region 4-6A final.
“We have a big game Saturday, hopefully I can help out then too,” Harper said. “We were able to move the ball pretty well and find open guys with backdoor cuts and open layups.”
PC: Cheatham 29, Ferguson 15, M. Harper 12, D. Harper 9, Jones 6, Johnson 5, Nije 2.
SF: Patterson 14, Spence 13, Lucky 8, Jones 6, Greis 6, Watson 4, Towell 3. Three-pointers: Cheatham 2, M. Harper 1, Johnson 1, Towell 1, Patterson 1. Half: P 46-21.
▪ Region 4-5A semifinal — Cardinal Gibbons 62, Dillard 50: Cardinal Gibbons took Dillard’s best shot before Gibbons 6-6 sharpshooter Maverick Rowan and Jose Morales landed the decisive season-ending blow to its arch rival.
Dillard got the quick start it needed to end a 3-0 season losing streak to Gibbons before Morales and Rowan sparked a second quarter surge that carried the host MaxPreps No. 5 Chiefs past Dillard in the Class 5A Regional semifinals Tuesday.
Rowan scored 13 of his game-high 29 points in the second quarter and Morales finished with 15 points and eight assists.
“When Dillard took the lead it was still early so we didn’t panic,” Rowan said. “Once we took the lead in the second quarter we felt good after that. This was like a game seven. Any time you play a team like that, which is physically strong, it prepares you well for the playoffs.”
Dillard capitalized after Richard McIntosh, the Chiefs’ 6-5 enforcer who is headed to Miami on a football scholarship, went to bench for the entire first half with his second foul 26 seconds into the game, jumping to a 14-6 first quarter lead.
But Morales (8 assists) and Rowan continued to build their case as the best 1-2 punch in Florida by leading a second-quarter rally which put the Chief up 30-23 at halftime.
Morales’ pull-up three-pointer with 4:41 left in the second quarter capped a 13-4 run and gave Gibbons a 19-18 lead. Rowan took the spotlight from that point on finishing a layup off a zip cross court pass from Morales and then hitting a dagger three-pointer in transition to give Gibbons a 30-22 lead with 1:37 left in the second quarter.
Dillard got a game-high 13 points from Keion Farrington, 10 points from Raquan Gray and nine points from Cedric Wright.
After pulling off a difficult 4-0 season sweep of its arch rival, Gibbons, which hosts Eustis in the 5A regional final Saturday, is an overwhelming favorite to win the Class 5A state title.
Dillard cut the lead to 47-44 with 4:44 left but picked up a technical foul after Gibbons’ Melvin Brooks was fouled, leading to four consecutive free throws and most likely a clear path for Gibbons to the state title.
“This shows we can take a punch,” Morales said. “We have played ahead for most of the year except for the Ely game. That is what I love about our team. We keep fighting.”
Dill (22-7): Green 8, J. Wright 4, Anderson 2, Farrington 13, Wright 9, Gray 10, Smith 4.
CG (28-1): Rowan 29, Morales 15, McIntosh 6, Kacprzak 6, Strong 2, Brooks 2, Rowe 2. Half: CG 30-23. Three-pointers: Green 1, Gray 2, Rowan 1, Morales 2. Rebounds: Brooks 8 Steals: Morales 3. Assists: Morales 8.
▪ Region 4-7A semifinal — Blanche Ely 75, Palm Beach Dwyer 56: Therrell Gosier scored 17 points and grabbed 19 rebounds while blocking five shots in Ely’s come from behind victory over Palm Beach Dwyer on Tuesday night.
Ely (26-0) trailed 35-26 at the half, but used their speed to take advantage of Dwyer at the free throw line as they converted 42 of 51 attempts.
“We knew going in that we were going to drive the lane and not take too many outside shots,” Ely coach Melvin Randall said. “We knew in the second half that they had their backs against the wall and that they could not contain us in the lane. All they could do to stop us was foul.”
Ely punctuated their dominance in the final play of the third quarter as Laquincy Rideau threw an alley oop that Gosier slammed home that brought the crowd to its feet and gave Ely a 49-44 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“Big-time games call for big-time plays,” Rideau said afterward. “We have worked on that play all season and it was time to take it out and let it fly.”
Randall said that he didn’t care much for the showboating, but since it worked, he didn’t say anything.
“They are both lucky that they made it and we win the game,” Randall said. “If not, I don’t think I would have reacted all that well.”
Ely will play at Central on Saturday night for the right to play in the state tournament. Dwyer finishes its season at 25-5.
BE: Gosier 17, Houston 4, Scott 3, Wilson 16, Goodrum 7, Heastie 12, Rideau 16;
DW: Luke 8, C. Quince 2, Huff 7, Warthen 13, Agnew 12, Davis 12, E. Davis 2. Three pointers: Warthen 2, Agnew. Rebounds - Gosier 16, Half: Dwyer 35-26.