Dillard 6-6 junior Jordan Wright doesn’t have a McDonald's All-American worthy resume like Norland 6-10 Miami signee Dewan Huell, but he showed the Vikings coaches sitting in the stands on Saturday why he will be a force to be reckoned if, as expected, the four-time defending state champion Vikings and Dillard square off in the Class 6A state playoffs.
In a Tournament of Champions Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Classic matchup that had its own physical, playoff feel, Wright poured in a game-high 25 points, and had a key layup and offensive rebound late to help the SourceHoops No. 2 Panthers (16-5) hold off defending Class 2A state champion Miami Christian 60-57 at the City of Coral Springs Gymnasium.
Raiquan Gray had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Joniya Gadson provided a spark off the bench with a 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Panthers.
The Victors (15-5) got a team-high 19 points from Eduardo Camacho, who led a fourth quarter comeback, 15 points from Miguel Diaz and 11 points from Jordan Hamburger.
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Wright anticipated the No. 1 Vikings would be taking notes in the stands in advance of their matchup against Westminster Academy, and he didn’t disappoint.
“We study what they [Norland] do and they study what we do,” Wright said. “If it comes down to Norland and us it will be real good. We match up real well. They have Dewan and we have some big guards.”
Wright happens to be one of those big guards, and along with his fellow 6-6 bookend Gray, gives Dillard five-time state champion coach Darryl Burrows the versatility to move them all around the court.
“Jordan and Raiquan are able to do multiple things,” said Burrows. “We have two big guards handling the ball, which changes most teams’ philosophy. We have some talent but we are still making ill-advised passes and plays at the wrong time.”
As part of a 13-point first quarter, Wright threw in a two handed dunk off the baseline and converted a nifty putback to give Dillard a 22-10 cushion to close the quarter and then saved the Panthers with timely plays down the stretch. Wright hit a three-pointer and then added a dunk off his steal at midcourt for a Dillard 50-41 lead with 5:34 left in the game only to see the Victors go on a 8-0 spurt to make it a nail-biter.
Anfernee Coqmard hit a three-pointer, Eduardo Camacho hit a layup and Jordan Hamburger hit a three-pointer to tie the score at 55 with 2:05 left.
Norland, meanwhile, survived a scare from Westminster Academy, and won 60-57.
Huell scored 24 points and the Vikings forced Westminster Academy to miss two shots with under 27.6 seconds left.
MC (15-5): Syle 4, Coqmard 4, Camacho 19, Diaz 15, Hamburger 11, Castillo 4. D (16-5): Wright 25, Johnson 3, Gray 15, Jordan 6, Gadson 11. Three-pointers: Wright 2, Gray, Hamburger 3, Diaz 2, Camacho, Coqmard. HT: 30-22 DIL. Rebounds: Gadson 12, Gray 11. Assists: Oliver 6. Steals: Gray 3.