Myron Dewar’s emergence as one of the most prolific scorers in the state elevated Coral Springs boys’ basketball program.
However, the Colts’ ability to collectively win games has them one victory away from their first state championship.
Dewar scored 14 points — less than half of his 29.2 per game average — but scored 12 in the second half and a collectively clutch effort down the stretch propelled Coral Springs to a 53-49 win over Winter Park Friday in a Class 8A state semifinal at The Lakeland Center.
“I think I was just over thinking a little bit too much,” Dewar said. “Coach just told me at halftime to start letting the game come to me.”
Coral Springs (21-7) advances to its first state championship game where it will play Sarasota Riverview (29-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“We’re a team for a reason,” Coral Springs coach Devin Barta said. “Myron is a tremendous player, but there are a lot of kids on our team that can play and it’s a testament to this team’s talent that we can win a state semifinal even when Myron had a ‘pedestrian night.”
Trailing 49-48, senior guard Chris Lucien rebounded and put back a missed shot by Jared Gill to give Coral Springs the lead for good with 1:01 left in the fourth quarter.
Senior forward Trevon White made a big defensive play on the other end blocking Malik Farley and collecting the ball off the miss.
Winter Park (21-10) tried to go for the steal first unsuccessfully despite having fouls to give. After committing enough to put Coral Springs in the bonus, Lucien stepped up to the line with 22 seconds left and hit both free throws.
“Chris has made a lot of clutch plays for us this year,” Barta said. “He had a buzzer-beating layup to open the season against Boyd Anderson and against Wellington last week he went 8 for 8 down the stretch knocking down free throws.
“I called the timeout on the sideline to design the play to make sure we got Chris the ball. Every time he got fouled late he handed the ball to the ref and sprinted to the line. I knew he was the guy I wanted on the line in a pressure-packed game like this.”
With a 52-49 lead, Coral Springs then chose to foul Winter Park to prevent it from potentially tying the game with a three-pointer. The strategy paid off as Wildcats guard Malik Foy missed the first of a one-and-one free throw situation and Springs forward Jonado Fils grabbed the rebound.
Fils missed the ensuing free throw, but Dewar soared in and grabbed the rebound, drawing a foul and later making a free throw that made it a two-possession game and put the game out of reach.
“I was extremely happy with the way we executed down the stretch,” Barta said. “When these guys were a little younger we had some trouble closing out games. We really buckled down in the last two or three minutes and didn’t turn the ball over.”
If you go
What: The state boys’ basketball finals.
When: Through Saturday.
Where: The Lakeland Center, 701 West Lime St., Lakeland.
Admission: $10 per day; Parking: $10.
Friday’s results – Class 7A semifinals: St. Petersburg 71, Tallahassee Lincoln 65; Pompano Beach Blanche Ely 62, Melbourne 59; Class 8A semifinals: Sarasota Riverview 64, South Miami 63 (OT); Coral Springs 53, Winter Park 49; Class 6A semifinals: Largo 56, Pensacola 54; Fort Lauderdale Dillard vs. Deltona, inc.
Saturday’s schedule – Class 5A final: Jacksonville Bishop Kenny vs. Kissimmee Poinciana, 11 a.m.; Class 6A final: Dillard-Deltona winner vs. Largo, 1:30; Class 7A final: Blanche Ely vs. St. Petersburg, 4; Class 8A final: Coral Springs vs. Sarasota Riverview, 7.