Zach Dawson has come through in the clutch on many occasions for South Miami’s boys’ basketball team.
But when Dawson fouled out early in overtime on Tuesday night, someone needed to step up for the Cobras to keep their season alive against Coral Reef.
Guard Michel Castro answered the call scoring all seven of his points in the extra period as South Miami survived a tough road test, emerging with a 62-50 victory over host Coral Reef in a Region 4-8A quarterfinal.
South Miami (20-8) will travel to play at Coral Gables in a regional semifinal Tuesday at 7 p.m., marking the fourth time the district rivals have played this season. The Cobras won the first two games before the Cavaliers won the district championship last week.
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Castro hit a three-pointer and went 4-for-4 from the free throw line as South Miami outscored Coral Reef 14-2 in overtime and scored the final 12 points of the game.
“Castro did great down the stretch and really came through with that three to start overtime,” South Miami coach Robert Doctor said. “The kids really picked things up after we lost Zach.”
With University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino watching in the stands, Dawson and Ishmael Davis set the tone offensively for the Cobras.
Dawson finished with 16 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Davis hit six three-pointers and finished with a game-high 23 points. Keith Stewart collected a game-high 15 rebounds.
Coral Reef (19-6) led by Davian Bryan and Brent Holcombe, who finished with 13 points each, took a six-point advantage with under three minutes left in the fourth quarter. Dawson helped rally South Miami, creating a score that would help the Cobras send the game to overtime.
Trailing 48-47, Dawson drove the lane and found Stewart under the basket as he went up and drew a foul with 1.7 seconds left. Stewart missed the first shot, but a lane violation gave him another opportunity. He converted and tied the game. After Coral Reef called timeout, Stewart missed the next free throw and time expired in regulation.
Coral Reef missed several shots in overtime as South Miami turned up its defensive pressure.
SM (20-8): Dawson 16, Stewart 5, Arnold 4, Castro 7, Ferguson 2, Davis 23. CR (19-6): Ruiz 6, Perez 5, Boria 2, Arabitg 9, Bryan 13, Holcombe 13. Half: SM 30-23. Three-pointers: Davis 6, Holcombe 3, Dawson 2, Castro, Perez, Bryan. Rebounds: Stewart 15. Assists: Davis 3.
▪ 4-8A — Flanagan 71, Krop 61: With George Allen scoring 23 points and Dexter Jeanty adding 20, the Falcons got past the round where they met elimination the previous two seasons.
"It's a goal we set for ourselves, kind of an expectation, as well," Flanagan coach Cliff Mayers said. "We talked about it at the beginning of the season. We understood what the situation was, where we were, and every season we've been trying to make progress, tried to improve."
Jeanty and Allen, a pair of seniors for Flanagan (11-10) worked inside and out. Jeanty, a senior forward who missed half the season recovering from ACL surgery, had nine rebounds and did most of his work in the paint.
With five steals, Allen spearheaded a press that forced Krop into several turnovers during a 30-8 run spanning parts of the second and third quarter. He hit the fourth-quarter free throws to seal it on Thursday.
Shaun Wingfield added 11 points and four assists. Karl Jeanty led Krop (14-7) with 18 points and seven rebounds. Jimmie Clarke scored 14.
Flan: D. Jeanty 20, Allen 23, Wingfield 11, Lester 7, Germain 4, Martin 2, Jean-Baptiste 4. DrK: Souza 2, K. Jeanty 18, O'Connor 9, Norman 1, Clarke 14, Barber 2, Aracena 5, James 8, Block 2. Half: Flan 33-25. Three-pointers: James 2, O'Connor 2, Clarke 2, Wingfield 2, Allen, Germain. Rebounds: D. Jeanty 9. Assists: Wingfield 4. Steals: Allen 5. Blocks: Souza 3.
▪ 4-8A — Miami High 65, Miramar 53: Two of Miami High’s top three players have been lost during this tumultuous season, but the Stings still have Marlon Sierra, and that was enough to eliminate Miramar. Sierra scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half to lead the host Stings (16-7) into their first regional semifinal since 2013.
So far, the Stings have managed to survive without highly rated 7-1 center Zach Brown, who transferred to a prep school in Connecticut, and 6-5 guard Malcolm Nicholas who was suspended. Both had been suspended after an on-court skirmish in a holiday tournament in Kentucky.
“Zach and Malcolm are not here – we’ve got to do it for them,” said Sierra, a 6-6 senior forward. “That’s how we feel. They are not here, but we’re thinking of them. We’re winning for them.”
Sierra said he told his guards to watch for him on lobs, and that play worked three times in the third quarter, when he erupted for 10 points.
Other than a 3-0 lead by Miramar (16-10), the Stings led throughout, taking a 19-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Stings led by as many as 16 points in the third quarter.
Miramar, which has never won a state title and hasn’t been past the regional quarterfinals since 2011, cut its deficit to eight with 6:31 left in the game. But that’s as close as it got.
Sierra, who said his team beat Flanagan in the preseason, has faith in the Stings’ ability to get stops.
“We don’t play offense,” said Sierra, whose team pressed full-court the entire game. “We convert defense into offense.”
MHS: Sierra 21, Reyes 7, Mera 6, Arce 12, Jean-Jacque 5, Suarez 3, Shannon 11, Mir: Cesar 8, Gregory 3, Rolle 17, Tyrell 2, Miller 12, Moore 7, Hercule 4. Half: MH 35-25. Three-pointers: Shannon 2, Arce, Sierra, Suarez, Moore, Miller 2, Rolle, Cesar. Tech: Stevens.
▪ 4-8A — Coral Gables 45, Homestead 35: P.J. Hall scored 19 points to spark host Coral Gables (20-6) over Homestead (17-8). Gables will host South Miami in the region semifinal Tuesday at 7.
“We stepped up on defense and it was a great game for us," Hall said.
Coral Gables started the game on an 8-0 run, but the Broncos cut into the lead in the second quarter. The game was tied 18-18 at halftime. The Cavaliers started the third quarter on a 9-1. Melo Aguero hit two three-pointers in the fourth quarter to keep Coral Gables ahead.
CG: Hall 19, Morley Jr. 9, Aguero 6, Peña 4, Brown 3, Sanchez 2, Blet 1, Diaz 1. HM: J. Collier 18, Parson 10, B. Collier 3, Butler 3, Virgil 1. Three-pointers: Aguero 2, J. Collier 2, Hall, B. Collier, Butler. Rebounds: Hall 10. Assists: Sanchez 6. Steals: Sanchez 3. Blocks: Blet 3. Half: 18-18
▪ 4-7A — McArthur 75, Goleman 38: Nate Johnson paced host McArthur with 32 points as the Mustangs’ offensive ball movement proved too much for the Gators (18-9); 14 of its 27 field goals came off assists from nine different players.
“Our plan was to force them to guard multiple guys,” McArthur coach Warren Gale said.
Jake Rodriguez was hot early for Goleman, scoring 11 of his 16 points in the first quarter. But Johnson matched him shot-for-shot with 16 points for McArthur (20-9), which held a 22-18 lead after the first quarter.
“He shot the ball really well tonight,” said Gale of Johnson. “He’s one of the best shooters in the county.”
Despite coach Gale’s displeasure with his team’s defense in the first half, the Mustangs held a 48-27 lead at halftime; outscoring Goleman 53-20 in the final three quarters. Just three Gators made shots from the field in the game and were out-rebounded 28-16.
“I think we took a step back in the first half defensively,” he added. “No matter who we play next, we need to work on that."
The Mustangs will host Mater Academy next Tuesday in a Region 4-7A semifinal
Gol: Rodriguez 16, Lopez 12, Pla 4, Casanova 3, Tracey 2, Santana 1. McA: Johnson 32, Brown 10, Millwood 9, Belvin 8, Escobar 6, Simpson 4, Choi 3, Gordon 3. Half: McA 47-28. Three-pointers: Rodriguez 3, Lopez 1, Johnson 6, Escobar 2, Gordon 1. Rebounds: Millwood 7.
▪ 4-7A — Mater Academy 64, Nova 33: Host Mater Academy (24-4) took the lead three seconds in and never looked back. Nova (22-6) kept it close after one, trailing 15-13 at the end of the quarter. Then Mater’s defense locked down on Nova’s shooters, holding the Titans to just four points in the second and 20 for the rest of the game.
“We executed our zone defense. We closed out well,” Mater senior Chris Mejia said.
Mater’s three starting seniors all finished in double-digits along with junior Shimoore Stern. Mejia led the way with a game-high 15 points.
“They’re great. I can’t say enough about them,” Mater coach Corey Stephens said about his seniors.
The Lions (24-4) opened up a 20-point lead on a one-handed jam from Stern to end the third quarter.
“They gave me a clear lane and I had to do what I had to do,” said Stern, who finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Mater travels to McArthur in the regional semifinal at 7 on Tuesday.
▪ 4-7A — Norland 69, Sunset 46: Tevin Jones had 11 rebounds and eight points as the four-time state champs ran away from the smaller Knights.
The Vikings (24-4) trailed 5-0 to start the game. All-American Dewan Huell’s nine first-half points paced the team to a 31-17 halftime edge. Huell finished with 16 points, while Trevoris Waugh had 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Vikings. Kennith Rolle scored 11 points in the win. Luis Veloz netted 16 points in the loss.
“Watching film I saw that they were small,” coach Lawton Williams said. “They couldn’t really rebound but they tried. That was the game plan; attack the glass.”
Sun (17-6): Veloz 16, Williams 12, Novali 8, Isaac 6, Pierre 2, Noriega 2. Nor (24-4): Huell 16, Waugh 12, Rolle 11, Jones 8, Andre 7, Jean-Baptiste 6, West 3, Waite 2, Hudson 2, Wilkerson 2. Half: Nor 31-17. Three Pointers: Williams 2, Isaac 2, Veloz 2, Novali 2, Rolle 2, Jean-Baptiste, Andre, Huell.
▪ Region 4-6A — Miami Central 47, Miami Springs 38: Miami Central got an impressive victory without their best player for most of the game. The Rockets were only leading by one after three quarters when they decided to bring in injured starter Anthony Wilson for the first time.
Wilson was held out for most of the game due to a deep bruise on the right shoulder yet the senior guard provided the needed spark to finally pull away from the Hawks.
"Wilson was begging to get into the game. He is a real competitor," Central coach Maurice Troupe said.
Cen: Cooper 4, Turnier 17, Nunnally 5, Thomas 3, Pierre-Louis 8, Willies 2, Louis 2, Wilson 3. MS: Castro 16, Santana 3, Bradford 6, Aldere 11.
▪ Other scores: 3-8A: Coral Springs 70, Piper 35; Cypress Bay 80, Taravella 46. 4-7A: Blanche Ely 57, Dwyer 52; Royal Palm Beach 68, St. Thomas Aquinas 57. 4-6A: Dillard 68, Okeechobee 52; Boyd Anderson 72, Sebastian River 52. 4-5A: Riviera Beach Suncoast 69, American Heritage 50; Coconut Creek 70, Port St. Lucie 64. 4-4A: Gulliver 70, Booker T. Washington 51; Westminster Christian 80, Mater Lakes 71; Chaminade-Madonna 60, Coral Springs Charter 57; Boca St. Andrew’s 59, Calvary Christian 56. 3-3A: Westminster Academy 74, NPB Benjamin 42; 4-3A: Archbishop Carroll 62, Palmer Trinity 32; Greater Miami Academy 67, Somerset 50; Miami Country Day 80, Somerset-Miramar 57; SLAM 38, Dade Christian 35. 4-2A: Boca Grandview 103, Northwest Christian 51; Zion Lutheran 71, Boca Raton Christian 30; Miami Christian 70, Schoolhouse 40.