Deerfield Beach quarterback Danarius Graham stood on the sideline the entire second half watching his North All-Star team struggle to move the ball.
Finally, after not playing since the first quarter, Graham took maximum advantage of his opportunity when he got back in the game with 5:56 to play and took his offense down the field on a 10-play 80 yard drive, most of it with his feet and scored the winning touchdown from 5 yards out with 1:51 left in the game to lead the North team to a 17-14 victory over the South in the 17th Annual BCAA All-Star Classic at Nova High School in Davie.
“I was anxious to get back out on the field and was just feeling it when I got out there,” said Graham who had a total of five rushes for 47 yards on the drive including runs of 13, 14 and 13 yards and predictably received the Otis Gray Trophy after the game as the game’s outstanding player.
Just minutes before the game-winning drive, it appeared the North had taken the lead when Blanche Ely quarterback Nelson Ervin found hit teammate Chazton McKenzie with what appeared to be a go-ahead 32-yard touchdown pass with 7:47 left but the score was nullied by a holding penalty eventually prompting a North punt.
But a three-and-out punt by the South ensued giving the North the ball back at the 20 and in went Graham.
Fort Lauderdale’s Tom Ellison Jr. was named the outstanding defensive player for the North, and Coral Springs’ Chad Boyd was named outstanding offensive player.
McArthur’s Damian Richardson was named the outstanding offensive player for the South, and Hallandale’s Paul Anderson was named the outstanding defensive player for the South. The North leads the series 11-6.
Once Cardinal Gibbons’ speedy point guard Jose Morales gets the ball in the open court, count two points for Gibbons on the other end.
Few, if any, wreak more havoc in transition with his baseline-to-baseline speed than Morales, who leads Class 5A No. 3 Gibbons (6-1) against Class 8A No. 4 Deerfield Beach (8-1) in the HoopExchange Southern Shootout at Gibbons on Friday at 8:30.
The Chiefs’ state title hopes rest with Morales (14 ppg, 10 apg, 3 spg,) dominating the point guard matchup with his speed and a stingy 2-3 zone that will try to hold Bucks 6-5 swingman Marvin Jean-Pierre under his 22 points per game average.
Deerfield point guard Vanderbilt Carpenter will most likely have the biggest responsibility in slowing down Morales, who has the rare talent of playing faster with the ball in his hands.
If Deerfield picks up Morales early in transition situations, as he suspects they will, Morales has the exceptional speed and ball handling to still beat would-be defenders downcourt for a layup.
Should Deerfield back off Morales, they risk Morales getting in the gaps of the defense and finding Melvin Brooks, Greg Kacprzak and Richard McIntosh for easy shots.
The ability to keep opponents off-balance with speed has led to a growing list of suitors, including William and Mary, Harvard, Cornell, UCF and Murray State to recruit Morales as their point guard of the future.
“My improved ball handling has helped me push the ball upcourt quicker,’’ Morales said. “It’s something I’ve worked on a lot. I would dribble the ball in the house. It wouldn’t make my mom happy but now I can go left.”
•Zion Lutheran 75, Hollywood Christian 27: ZL (9-1):
Lett 10, Pauyo 4, B. Battle 19, Riley 2, Rivera 4, K. Battle 25, Pinto 6. Rebounds: Lett 8. Assists: B. Battle 6. Steals: B. Battle 8. Three-pointers: B. Battle 4.
•Archbishop McCarthy 2, Pines Charter 1:
PC: Mya Goodman goal. AMC: Alexa Rivera goal. Brook Williamson goal. Olivia Reese assist. Yari Bradfield assist. Jenny Corzo 10 saves. AMC 17-2-1. PC 10-4-1.
•American Heritage 1, Lourdes 1:
LOU: Michelle Figarola goal. Rebecca Alvarez assist.
Hialeah Educational at Sheridan Hills Christian, 6:30
Douglas at South Broward, 7:30
Hallandale at Coconut Creek, 7:30
Everglades at Flanagan, 7:30
Piper at Western, 7:30
Pines Charter at Boynton Beach, 7:30
Clay vs. American Heritage (Citrus Bowl), 1
Miramar vs. North Miami (NM Stadium), 4
Boyd Anderson at Nova, 7
Cooper City at Northeast, 7
Coral Glades at Taravella, 7
Hialeah Educational at Pine Crest (Pine Crest), 3:30
American at Sagemont, 5:30
Nova at Miami Country Day, 6
Cooper City at Cypress Bay, 5
Boyd Anderson at Nova, 5
Cooper City at Northeast, 5
Taravella at Coral Glades, 5
Barron Collier at Cypress Bay, 5