McArthur rode out the ups and downs of a difficult regular season schedule.
The experience is paying off once again in the playoffs.
The Mustangs stood tough in a clutch situation Thursday night and held off host Mater Academy in the closing seconds for a 56-55 win in a Region 4-8A boys’ basketball quarterfinal.
McArthur, a .500 team in mid-January, won its seventh game in its past nine and eliminated Mater in the regional playoffs for the second consecutive season.
The Mustangs (19-14) will take on either district foe Nova or Goleman on Tuesday in the regional semifinals. McArthur has lost two of three previous games this season against Nova including last week’s district final.
“We played games against the best teams in this county,” McArthur coach Warren Gale said. “We’ve been struggling offensively the past couple of games and with some injuries. But getting all our players back tonight was huge. To watch those kids defend the way they did on the last possession, that’s what championship basketball is all about.”
In a game that had 15 lead changes and went back and forth in the final two minutes, senior Kheron Milwood’s layup with 14 seconds left gave the Mustangs a one-point lead.
Mater called a timeout with 3.2 seconds left to set up a game-winning shot. The Lions (16-7) got their shot when Matthew Tanis got an open look from three. But his shot bounced off the rim as time expired.
Milwood finished with a team-high 14 points and his go-ahead score came nine seconds after Malcolm Nicholas had given Mater a one-point lead. Nicholas finished with a game-high 20 points.
Ralph Bissainthe also scored 12 points for McArthur and Noah Brown added 11 including three clutch three-pointers in the third quarter that brought McArthur back from a five-point deficit.
Brown missed last week’s district final to attend his grandmother’s funeral, and also lost his grandfather this past season.
“Both passed away within three weeks of each other,” Brown said. “I know they were smiling watching over me tonight out there.”
McA (19-14): Bissainthe 12, Millwood 14, Labastille 5, Brown 11, Saintil 5, Belvin 9. MAT (16-7): Ferguson 5, Nicholas 20, Tanis 5, Simoza 3, Monisanto 11, Chery 3, Duquesne 6. Half: MAT 28-26. 3-Ptrs: Brown 3, Saintil, Belvin, Ferguson, Tanis, Monisanto 3, Duquesne 2.
▪ Class 9A Regional Quarterfinal: Palmetto 63, Coral Gables 61 (3OT): After a thrilling back and forth game Palmetto (19-7) defeats Coral Gables (14-9) in triple overtime.
“This is the greatest game I have ever been a part of and coached,: said Coach Marcos Molina. “In all my years coaching I never been a part of a greater game.”
Palmetto didn’t lead at any point in the game till the fourth quarter at 1:52 minute mark.
The Panthers were led by junior guard Mikal Starks who scored the go ahead basket twice in both the end of regulation and in double overtime before the Coral Gables Cavaliers tied them twice in the final seconds.
“Starks was incredible today,” said Molina. “He has been the MVP and the leader of the team since coming back from his injury.”
PLM: Starks 21, Martinez 16, Rodriguez 10, Castellano 9, Hamburger 5, Menendez 2. CG: Lovett 9, Morley 14, Dawkins 10, Guerrero 7, Alfonso 6, Blett 11. Assists: Starks 7. Steals: Starks 4. Rebounds: Rodriguez 11.
▪ Region 4-5A Quarterfinal: Calvary Christian 48, Boca Raton-St. Andrew’s 42: Calvary’s unsung guard Rasheem Etienne outplayed St. Andrew’s star Anthony Polite, a Florida State signee, and Eagles 7-0 senior Victor Uyaelunmo was the difference inside with a game-high 19 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks to help the visiting FABC-Source Hoops Class 5A No. 2 Eagles exact revenge on the No. 1 Scots 48-42 on Thursday.
Polite was expected to dominate the guard matchup but it was the 5-10 Etienne who stole the spotlight, Etienne scored 12 points, hit two big shots early in the fourth to help the Eagles keep a tenuous lead and took on the unenviable task of guarding the 6-6 Polite for most of the game, holding Polite to a season-low seven points.
It was a far cry from the first meeting between the 5A powers on Jan 24. when Polite torched the Eagles for a game-high 27 points in the Scots’ 66-58 come-from-behind victory at Calvary.
“Polite is hard to defend,” Etienne said. “He is bigger so I try to use quickness to my advantage. To get underneath him so he couldn’t score much. We played a zone the first time so that kept him going. Once we played man tonight it was hard for him to score because he always had somebody on him.”
Victor Uyaelunmo, meanwhile, altered whatever shots he didn’t get to and his 6-8 brother Solomon Uyaelunmo added nine points.
Calvary’s lack of late game execution in recent losses to University School and Miami Christian casted some doubt on their state championship pedigree but the Eagles (20-5) changed that conversation on Thursday, setting up a revenge match against University School in the Regional semifinals on Tuesday.
Jammy Pierre-Louis’s second three pointer tied the game 39-39 with 2:05 left in the fourth quarter but the Eagles wouldn’t flinch this time.
Victor Uyaelunmo made both free throw attempts to put the Eagles up for good before Polite missed a layup with 1:28 left. Etienne, the Eagles’ emotional leader, added two free throws and Jerald Butler (7 points) swatted Alejandro Ralat’s shot with 57.1 seconds left to preserve a 43-39 lead. Butler then showed his emotion with a fist pump and scream.
Eagles coach Cilk McSweeney’s game plan was to keep the game at a slow pace, which would benefit his NBA size front line and keep the Scots (25-3) out of transition. The decision proved masterful as the Eagles were content to take a 7-4 lead into the second quarter and never allow the Scots to speed up the game.
Calvary made sure that anybody but Polite was going to beat them, opening the door for Ryan McAdoo, the son of NBA Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo, to tally a team-high 12 points.
“We lost on this floor by three points last year so I told them to always remember how that feels,” said McSweeney. “We were always ready for this. We knew we would face them again. We ended up getting them back. To hold down Polite like that is amazing. My two guards Etienne and [Angel] Lebron defensively were amazing. Kudos to them.”
CC (20-5): Lebron 1, Solomon Uyaelunmo 9, Victor Uyaelunmo 19, Butler 7, Etienne 12. SA (25-3): Polite 7, Pelissier 7, Pierre-Louis 6, Chymyrenko 2, McAdoo 12, Kennedy 5, Ralat 3. Half: 16-13. 3-Ptrs: Pierre-Louis 2, Etienne 2, McAdoo, Kennedy, Butler. Rebounds: Polite 11.
▪ Class 7A Regional Quarterfinal: Norland 65, Belen Jesuit 43: Reece Wilkinson had 10 points, eight rebounds, seven blocks and two steals, and Sam Griffin scored 11 points on Thursday as the Vikings advance.
Norland (20-6) raced out to a 22-8 lead before Belen Jesuit’s Javy Torres de Navarro buried a triple with just over five minutes left in the second quarter. But Norland outscored the Wolverines, 8-0, over the remainder of the quarter until JC Carillo sank two free throws for Belen (18-10) a second before halftime.
Torres de Navarro had 13 points, five boards and four steals. Carillo had six points, five rebounds and four blocks.
Matthew Bravo tripled to pull Belen within 36-21 in the third quarter, but Norland’s Dejahn Ford buried a 3 of his own to extend the Vikings’ lead back to 22 with 1:05 left in the period. Norland, which moves on to Tuesday’s regional semifinals, coasted the rest of the way.
Kennith Rolle had nine points, and Cardinal Brown five rebounds and three steals for the Vikings. Mo Milton scored eight for Belen.
BEL (18-10): Torres de Navarro 13, Milton 8, Carillo 6, Rodriguez 6, Bravo 5, Dajer 3, Seda 2. NOR (20-6): Griffin 11, Wilkinson 10, K. Rolle 9, Ford 7, Henderson 6, Gatlin 5, Spenkuch 5, O. Rolle 5, Brown 4, Jones 2, Laidler 1. Half: NOR 30-13.
▪ Region 4-9A Quarterfinal: Pines Charter 63, American 61: Down 59-54 with under three minutes remaining, Pines Charter finished on a 9-2 run to knock out host American on Thursday night.
“This shows that we have fight; we had to comeback and focus in the clutch,” said Malik Hardy, who led the Jaguars with 25 points and four three-pointers.
With 1:40 left, Hardy hit a deep three to give Pines Charter a 60-59 lead. Shaq Harris led the Patriots (18-9) with 25 points.
The Jaguars (18-6) will travel to face North Miami in a regional semifinal on Tuesday.
PC: Hardy 25, Exameau 19, Davis 7, Wyche 2, Alufohai 3, Brathwaite 7. AMER: Harris 25, Vilchez 22, Narvaez 9 , Diaz 3, Noel 2. Half: PC 33-31. 3-Ptrs: Hardy 4, Harris, Diaz, Vilchez, Exameau, Alufohai, Brathwaite. Rebounds: Harris 13. Assists: Narvaez 6. Steals: Narvaez 3.
▪ Region 4-9A Quarterfinal: South Miami 65, Killian 29: Recent Oklahoma State signee Zack Dawson starred in Thursday night’s matchup against Killian, scoring 26 points, including four three-pointers.
Coach Robert Doctor was without Dawson’s fellow OK State signee Latravian Glover, but the lack of this other star performer didn’t seem to matter as South Miami coasted to an easy victory. Doctor credited the team’s “resilience and impressive defense” for the victory.
The Cobras will face Palmetto in a regional semifinal on Tuesday.
▪ Class 8A Regional Quartertfinal: Coral Springs 58, Piper 57: Perhaps the most difficult journey in reaching the championship is defending one.
The Coral Springs boys basketball survived its first test on Thursday, just barely.
Sophomore Jelani Heard scored 10 of his team-high 16 points, including a pair of free throws with 20 left to lead the Colts to a come-from-behind 58-57 victory over Piper.
The Colts (19-7), who won their third straight one-point game, will host Deerfield Beach on Tuesday.
Coral Springs easily dispatched of Piper in last years Class 8A regional quarterfinal 70-35 on its way to the schools first state title in boys basketball last year.
Piper (21-7) had taken a 57-56 lead after a pair of free throws from McKayle Carter with 30 second left.
The Bengals built a 30-21 halftime lead predicated on a 10-0 run that was snapped following a basket from Colts sophomore forward Alex London with 2:04 left in the first half.
Kenny Lucien added 15 points for the Colts, while Jofrel Morell had 16 points to lead the Bengals.
P (21-7): Whitehead 7, Eluett 8, Drummond 6, Snyder 7, Morell 14, Carter 7, James 4. CS (19-7): Lucien 15, Moore 6, Fleurizard 2, Watson 4, Lowry 6, Heard 16, London 9. Half: P 30-21. 3-Ptrs: Lucien 3, Heard 2, Whitehead, Carter.
MORE BOYS’ BASKETBALL
▪ Region 7-4A Semifinal: Florida Christian 54, Palmer Trinity 37: FC (17-11): Valdes 6, Pericles 13, Keller 18, Square 17. PT (19-9): Friedland 5, Bess 7, Coellar 5, Diaz 2, Alston 4, Panjabi 2, Mishra 3, Yanes 9. Half: FC 31-15. Rebounds: Pericles 11. Assists: Sosa 5.
▪ Region 3-4A Semifinal: Sagemont 70, North Palm Beach-Benjamin 54: Sagemont will host Westminster Academy at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a region final.
▪ Class 4A Regional Semifinal: Archbishop Carroll 89, Palm Glades 21: AC: Mendez 17, Deribeaux 16, Cordero 12, Silva 12, Aarestrup 6, Villamil 5, Valenzuela 5, Barbic 4, Fajardo 4, Russo 3, Cruz 3, Gomez 2. PG: Castillo 6, Francois 4, Brown 3, Lilarois 2, Appleby 2, Moon 2, Sanchez 2. Half: AC 62-10. 3-Ptrs: Deribeaux 3, Cordero 2, Silva 2, Mendez, Villamil, Cruz, Valenzuela. Rebounds: Silva 10. Assists: Cordero 11. Steals: Cordero 4.
▪ Region 4-3A Semifinal: Champagnat 78, Berean Christian 54.
▪ Class 5A Regional Quarterfinal: Gulliver Prep 81, Booker T. Washington 68: The Raiders advance to a regional seimfinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday. GP: Mashburn 36, Sanders 14, Robinson 10, Silberman 7, LaMonica 6, Taylor 6, Perry 2. BW: Clear 17, Dixion 16, Noel 16, Eason 11, Leverett 6, Elissaint 2. 3-Ptrs: Clear 5, Dixion 4, Noel 2, Leverett 2, Robinson 2, Mashburn 2, Taylor, Sanders. Rebounds: Mashburn 7. Assists: Robinson 5.
▪ Region 4-5A Quarterfinal: Mater Lakes 84, Key West 74: The Bears (20-6) won their first-ever regional playoff game led by Cyrus Largie’s 31 points and 13 rebounds. Jurik Morales had 21 points and five assists and Donovan Alvarez had 13 points. Mater Lakes will travel to play Gulliver on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the semifinal round.
▪ Wednesday - Region 4-9A Quarterfinal: North Miami 100, Miramar 64: NM (19-5): North Miami will host Pines Charter on Tuesday in a regional semifinal. Reynald Laurent 25 pts, 6 asts; Jonas Guillaume 15 pts, 5 asts; Garald Cassamajor 13 pts, 10 rebs, 4 asts; Richard Charles 17 pts, 3 stls; Webster Simeus 8 pts, 7 rebs, 7 blks.