Cardinal Gibbons rode 6-6 forward Melvin Brooks and 6-5 Richard McIntosh into a BCAA Big 8 boys’ semifinals matchup against Blanche Ely.
Brooks (10 points, 11 rebounds) and McIntosh (11 points, six rebounds) were the difference as the Chiefs jumped out to 15-6 lead they would never relinquish in defeating McArthur 51-40 in the Big 8 quarterfinals at Fort Lauderdale on Thursday.
“My focus today was just to go after every rebound.” Brooks said. “My teammates got me involved early. When we got that inside out-side combo going with Richard and me, we’re unstoppable.”
The wire-to-wire victory earned the Chiefs (19-5) a date with reigning Big 8 champion and two-time defending Class 7A state champion Blanche Ely (19-2) in the semifinals on Friday at 6:30.
Costly turnovers doomed McArthur’s chances of getting off to the fast start they needed against the Chiefs. Cardinal Gibbons capitalized on the Mustangs’ miscues and opened a 15-6 lead with 1:07 left in the first quarter when Morales followed Melvin Brook’s basket with a steal and layup.
Fortunately for the Mustangs, Junior 6-5 swingman Felix Rivera-Vega got them back in the game by scoring eight of his 10 points in the second quarter to help the Mustangs pull within 26-21 at halftime.
The Mustangs got 12 points from Derric Jean but couldn’t generate anything inside from its talented frontline of 6-7 Sandro Noel and 6-8 Corey Brown which combined for six points.
The Raiders got a team-high 21 points from emerging sophomore 6-7 center Hank Hunter and 14 points from Sidney Umude but simply had no answer for Jaguars’ 6-5 star swingman Haanif Cheatham.
Cheatham, a ESPN four star prospect finished with a game-high 25 points and six assists, highlighted by an alley-oop he caught off the backboard from Dimitri Harper.
•District 3A-15 Semifinal: Miami Country Day 83, Doctors Charter 7: MCD (22-2):
Alvarez 6, McKenzie 12, Lewis 6, Dawson 3, Edwards 4, Minott 24, Anyagaligbo 19, Berry 9. DC (4-4): Exalan 4, Heard 3. Rebounds: Minott 10. Steals: Mackenzie 10.
Jones 19, Williams 13, Tumminello 11, Armstead 4, Molinari 4, Lanzon 3, Cohen 2. AMC (13-13): Amoregui 16, Grimaldo 12, McCray 11, Middleton 7, Schoedinger 6, Kouri 2. Rebounds: Jones 10. Assists: Williams 4. Steals: Williams 3, Lanzon 2, Clifford 2.
NATIONAL SIGNING DAY
Kristi Ten of West Broward will be the first lacrosse player at her school to sign a letter of intent on Feb. 5 to join the Asbury University women’s team.