Blanche Ely guard Lance Tejada III needed a heat check Saturday after pouring in a game-high 31 points, including seven three-pointers to lead two-time defending Class 7A state champions Tigers against Dillard 66-62.
Dillard (7-2) threw everything at Tejada but it couldn’t stop the East Carolina recruit from hitting seven of eight three-point attempts, including back-to-back three-pointers to help the Tigers (6-0) open a quick 15-5 lead.
“I tried to pick it up and do anything I could to lead my team to victory,” Tejada said. “I try to get my team going being the captain. They are going to react to what I do. I try to play with a fire every game, regardless of who we are playing.”
Tejada’s big night was a carry over in a breakout senior scoring season in which he is averaging a career-high 27.2 points. In the past three victories, Tejada has put up 31 points, 25 points and 32 points.
It looked like a runaway Tigers victory after Tejada blocked Tristan Pendergraph’s shot and ran down court to drain his fifth three-pointer of the first half as the Tigers built a 32-16 lead with 2:12 left in the second quarter.
But Dillard fought back with a 10-0 run to close the second half, capped by Keion Farrington’s layup and Mark Dixon’s three-pointer to pull Dillard within 32-26 at halftime.
“Lance did a great job controlling the game, but we are still having this problem putting teams away,” said Tigers five time state champion coach Melvin Randall. “We get up 15-16 points and we take the foot off the pedal. That is something we have to work on and get better at.”
Ely needed all of Tejada’s 15 first-half points as Dillard came roaring back to tie the score 32-32 with 5:28 left in the third quarter on Cedric Wright’s layup and forge ahead 35-32 when Tyson Grace nailed a three-pointer on the Panther’s next possession.
While Farrington had 17 points and Grace a team-high 19 points to get Dillard back in the game, this night belonged to Tejada, who answered Dillard’ run with back to back three-pointers and then a scoop layup for a 51-41 Ely lead going into the fourth quarter.
Ely guard Javon Heastie, in his first game against his former team, poured in 14 points, including three three-pointers.
Tyson hit a free throw to cut the lead to 61-58 with 1:39 left but Ely 6-7 forward Therrell Gosier snuffed the final Dillard rally with a block of Tyson's layup attempt. Joshua Floyd (11 points) hit two free throws to push the lead to 63-58.Florida Christian 70, Palmer Trinity 48: FC (4-2): PT: Hollywood Christian 57, Doctors Charter 53: HC:
GIRLS’ BASKETBALLNorthwestern 74, Central 45: NW (8-1): CEN: Westminster Christian 46, Carrolton 7: WC: CAR: Miami Country Day 53, Oxbridge Academy 47: MCD (7-1): OA: Miami 37, Coral Springs Charter 27: MIA: CSC: Gulliver Prep 54, Ransom Everglades 37: GP: Coral Reef 55, Southridge 27: CR: St. Brendan 58, Florida Christian 52: SB (8-3): FC (8-2):
Maite Gutierrez scored three goals as Westminster Christian cruised past Orangewood Christian 4-0.
Madison Precht scored a goal and dished out two assists.Palmer Trinity 3, Mater Lakes Academy 2:
BOYS’ SOCCERRansom Everglades 1, Tampa Berkeley Prep 1: Hillel 8, Archbishop Curley 0.
CENTRAL 28, MAINLAND 15
DM-Safety. Bonds tackled in end zone
CEN-Reed 2 run (Piraquive kick)
DM-Hannah 30 pass from Rodriguez (Bruno kick)
CEN-Phillips 81 pass from Reed (Piraquive kick)
CEN-Phillips 27 pass from Reed (Piraquive kick)
CEN-Phillips 3 pass from Reed (Piraquive kick)
DM-Houston 4 pass from Rodriguez (pass failed)
Rushing - DM: Rodriguez 22-95; Killins 11-50; Sampson 2-18; CEN: Cook 22-73; Adams 2-13; Reed 4-(-2).
Passing - DM: Rodriguez 12-31-1; CEN: Reed 12-23-235-2.
Receiving - DM: Hannah 3-41; Houston 4-25; Sampson 1-6; Copeland 2-29; Hughes 1-26; Taylor 1-(-3); CEN: Phillips 8-211; Brown 2-14; Adams 1-6; Joyner 1-4.