LAKELAND – Broward County capped another banner year in boys’ basketball on Saturday.
And Dillard was at the heart of it once again.
The Panthers (28-4) left no doubt as to who was the superior team on the court with a 75-43 rout of Orlando Edgewater in the Class 7A state final at The Lakeland Center.
Dillard won consecutive state titles for the first time since its four-year run from 1999-2003, and captured its seventh championship overall, giving the Panthers the most of any Broward County school.
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Dillard’s victory, along with Calvary Christian’s triumph earlier in the day in Class 5A, gave Broward County three state champions, matching the record set last year when the Panthers, Blanche Ely and Coral Springs won titles.
With Westminster Academy winning Friday, all three champs this season hailed from Fort Lauderdale.
"When you look at South Florida for the last few years now it’s starting to open up where you see kids of caliber are coming from South Florida," Dillard coach Darryl Burrows said. "It’s been that way for some time. It’s been that way for a long time with football. I don’t mind sharing that with football, but we also play some good basketball in the south."
Burrows joined Blanche Ely’s Melvin Randall as coaches with the most state titles in the state. Burrows coached Dillard to all seven championships giving him the most of any coach in state history at one school. Randall won two of his at Deerfield Beach and five at Ely.
"I do believe those records will be broken eventually," Burrows said. "I sat there by myself for a while until [Miami Norland] coach [Lawton] Williams and coach Randall passed me by. Someone else will eventually come along and then they’ll be sitting here."
Dillard seized control of the game for good in the second quarter with a 22-0 run and outscored Edgewater 30-1 after falling behind 17-15 early. The Panthers held Edgewater without a field goal in that period.
"We knew after seeing Edgewater that they could play so we were on edge about coming out to play early," Burrows said. "We didn’t want them to settle in a comfort zone so we came out with a lot of pressure right off the bat."
Jordan Wright, a University of Kentucky commit for football, led Dillard with a game-high 23 points and collected eight rebounds.
FSU commit Raiquan Gray got off to a great start in the first quarter, and finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Dillard thoroughly dominated Edgewater in the paint, and out-rebounded the Eagles 47-19.
Burrows credited his team’s versatility for creating matchup problems throughout the season and once again on Saturday.
"It was hard this year for teams to match up with these guys because they played multiple positions," Burrows said. "If you double Raiquan Gray, who are you going to put on Jordan Wright? Our biggest thing was each player being locked into his opponent. That’s the job I’m responsible for. That allowed us to get some steals and that led to some easy fast breaks."
DIL (28-4): Gray 16, Wright 23, Oliver 8, Coddington 2, Garner 2, Smith 2, Sellars 9, R. Johnson 8, M. Johnson 3, Ingraham 2. EDGE (23-9): Allen 16, Simons 10, E. Williams 2, J. Williams 4, Foreman 5, Eads Jr. 2, Cody 4. Half: DIL 45-20. Fouled out: Cody. Technicals: Foreman, Coddington. Three-pointers: Gray 2, Sellars, Simons, J. Williams, Foreman. Rebounds: Gray 11. Assists: Gray 5. Steals: Gray, Garner, Allen, Foreman 2 each. Blocks: Allen 5.
STATE BOYS’ BASKETBALL
Class 9A: Kissimmee Osceola vs. Apopka Wekiva, inc.
Class 8A: Tallahassee Lincoln vs. Tampa Sickles, inc.
Class 7A: Fort Lauderdale Dillard 75, Orlando Edgewater 43
Class 6A: Leesburg 57, Cape Coral Mariner 53
Class 5A: Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian 65, Tampa Catholic 48
Class 4A: Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy 57, Jacksonville Providence 43
Class 3A: Orlando Christian Prep 78, Deltona Trinity Christian 48
Class 2A: Miami Christian 51, Melbourne Florida Prep 48
Class 1A: Greensboro West Gadsden 64, Wildwood 44