The American Heritage boys’ basketball team avenged its District 16-5A final loss by ousting host Cardinal Gibbons 62-59 when it mattered most in a fast-paced Region 4-5A semifinal on Tuesday.
Gibbons had one final chance, down 3 and with the ball in the hands of the man who made the game-winner against Heritage in that district final, Jose Morales. He rose up from the top of the key, drew contact, but no foul was called, and his shot made it about halfway to the basket at the buzzer.
Heritage’s Massey brothers led the charge. Jason Massey led the Patriots with 20 and Justin Massey followed with 14. Jason peaked Heritage’s fourth-quarter momentum with 1:01 remaining when he stole a Gibbons pass, dished it ahead to Keyshawn Evans, who then lofted it back to Massey for a thunderous two-handed alley-oop slam plus a foul.
“I saw Key going and he gave me the eye and I knew he was putting it up,” said Jason, a senior committed to Brown University. “I just jumped my highest, put it down in the basket — and one.”
It put Heritage up 6 while quieting the otherwise raucous Chiefs’ home crowd.
Morales kept Gibbons’ hopes alive with a three-pointer that cut the lead in half from the same spot he missed the game-tying attempt. Evans then missed the front end of a one-and-one to set up Morales’ last gasp.
The Patriots (24-7) and their nine seniors, who fell in the state title game last season, advance to regional finals to play Eustis on Saturday.
“We question all the time, ‘What’s your legacy? Don’t let anybody take your legacy,’ ” Heritage coach Charlie Stephenson says. “We feel this is our legacy for the seniors this year, and it’s time to go get it at states.”
For Gibbons (24-6), Richard McIntosh led the way with 17 points. Morales and Melvin Brooks each had 12.
The Jaguars (19-5) chased the Tigers through transition continuously in the first half as a result of sloppy ball handling. The Tigers, who were led by Jordan Galvon’s 25 points, topped the Jaguars 34-30 at halftime.
Cheatham’s high-flying felonies and strictly sterile guard play meant fewer easy buckets for the Tigers in the second half. The Jaguars outscored the Tigers 23-16 in the third quarter and 18-13 in the final frame.
The Jaguars face Miami Norland on Saturday in a Class 6A regional final.
The Panthers, after leading by as many as 17 early in the third quarter, had to weather a fierce North Broward Prep second half rally. Charter (17-10) will face Miami Pace in the FHSAA round of eight on Friday. The Eagles ended their season at 18-9.
The Eagles took their only lead of the game at 62-59 on Alex Rifkind's second consecutive three-point basket with 1:50 remaining. The game was tied for the last time at 63-63 on point guard Alonzo Taylor's drive with :32 left.
On the ensuing possession, Prep guard Jacolby Harris, a major factor in the Eagles' rally, fouled out with 10.2 seconds left when he was called for a charge. He finished with a game-high 25 points.
Austin Vaughn led the Panthers with 22 points. Kinsey had 10 points.
The Eagles' Rifkind had 20 points while Sammi Reyes scored all 15 of his points in the second half while grabbing 15 rebounds in the losing effort.
Junior guard and UConn commit Prince Ali led the Lions with 25 points. Westwood Christian ends its season at 20-8.
Douglas was led by Ryan Allison with 16 points and six assists, and Jason Franco added 18 points and five rebounds for the Eagles.
In the fourth quarter, coach Devin Barta had the Colts apply full court pressure to Douglas and it changed the momentum of the game. The Colts attacked the basket, led by Myron Dewar’s 28 points and seven rebounds.
With the game tied at 57-57 following a Douglas score, Dewar scored on a three-point play to give the Colts a 60-57 lead. After a time out with the score 61-59, the Colts executed a full court pass and Garven Charles scored on a layup to seal the victory.
Coral Springs will next play John I. Leonard for the Class 8 Regional championship.
The Titans (18-6) travels to face Boyd Anderson on Saturday for the regional championship. South Broward ends its season at 10-15.
Marc Lawrence had eight of his 13 points in the second half as Nova built the lead as high as 15. Isaiah Thomas added four blocks for the Titans.
Bulldogs’ leading scorer Austin Oltime picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter but still finished with 21 for South Broward.