It’s only November.
But some of the state’s best boys’ basketball teams were glad to get a chance to test themselves against other state powers on an NBA court Tuesday afternoon at the ARS/Rescue Rooter Hoophall Miami Invitational tournament at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“This brings together the entire community and grassroots basketball,” Pines Charter coach Dave Roca said. “Our kids were humbled by playing in a multimillion-dollar facility like this arena. It’s not every day you get this opportunity.”
Pines Charter was one of two Broward County stalwarts Tuesday, along with Sagemont, that beat top-flight Miami-Dade County competition.
Dillard was unable to make it a Broward sweep, although it could hardly be blamed as the Panthers lost 67-36 to Montverde Academy, the three-time reigning national champion that is ranked No. 2 by USA Today.
Dade’s top-ranked team and four-time defending Class 6A state champion Miami Norland gave that county a victory by taking down reigning Class 8A state champ Wellington.
▪ Norland 57, Wellington 52: Senior Dewan Huell, a recent University of Miami signee, led the Vikings with 25 points and 12 rebounds as the Vikings (2-0) held off the Wolverines late. Guard Trent Frazier’s three-point attempt bounced off the rim and Norland’s Tyrik Waite collected the rebound with 2.7 seconds left. Waite made two free throws to seal the outcome.
“Last year we lose that game,” Norland coach Lawton Williams III said. “This year we’re older and more experienced, and it showed. But we have to get better.”
▪ Sagemont 57, Miami High 53: The Lions were led by junior guard Tyler Polley’s 22 points and nine rebounds, and junior guard Luis Hurtado’s 12 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Sagemont (4-0), a runner-up in Class 3A last season, has a squad seemingly tall and athletic enough to make a run for the school’s third state title since 2011.
Sagemont held off Miami High late in the game despite another strong game from 7-1 junior center Zach Brown, who finished with 15 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks.
“Zach Brown is one of the best players in America, and he impacts the game more than the average fan might realize,” Sagemont coach Adam Ross said. “It opened up shots for a lot of their guys and we usually don’t give up a lot of threes. It certainly wasn’t our best performance, but a lot of it has to do with a lot of guys playing in a big arena like this.”
SAGE (4-0): Polley 22, Hurtado 12, Verbinskis 7. MHS (2-2): Sierra 20, Brown 15, Arce 7, Mera 6, Reyes 5. Half: Sage 30-27.
▪ Pembroke Pines Charter 61, Mater Academy 49: The senior-laden Jaguars hope this is the season they advance to the state tournament in Lakeland.
Pines Charter (3-0), which has nine seniors on the roster, had four of them score in double figures to help it defeat one of the top teams in Class 7A. Anfernee Munnings and Matthew Johnson each scored 14 points. Malik Harper scored 12 points and had five rebounds, and Patrick Eugene scored 10 and had nine rebounds. Mikel Jones, another senior, had five points, five rebounds and five assists.
Munnings hit three three-pointers and helped Pines Charter outscore Mater 22-6 in the third quarter to take control of the game. The Jaguars held off Mater down the stretch after the Lions had cut the deficit to 11.
PPC (3-0): Jones 5, Alufohai 2, Johnson 14, Eugene 10, Harper 12, Munnings 14, Hardy 4. MA: Quintana 3, Mejia 10, Meek 2, Diaz 16, Frye 12, Duquesne 6. Half: PPC 25-21. Three-pointers: Munnings 3, Quintana, Frye 2.
▪ Boca Raton Grandview Prep 70, Gulliver Prep 44: After keeping it close in the first half, the Raiders (1-2) were outscored 40-20 in the second half by the Pride, which was led by senior guard Juwan Frazier’s 19 points.
Sophomore 6-8 forward Solomon Uyaelunmo led Gulliver with 19 points, and his brother, junior 7-foot center Victor Uyaelunmo, scored eight points. Victor was hobbled by a shoulder injury that limited him to only three games last season.
GUL (1-2): Perez 3, Silberman 4, Jackson 4, Robinson 6, V. Uyaelunmo 8, S. Uyaelunmo 19. GP (1-0): Snow 2, Marcelin 5, Occeus 9, Nwachukwu 10, J. Schner 12, M. Schner 13, Frazier 19. Half: Grandview 30-24.