With an arsenal of off-balance runners and Dirk Nowitzki-like one-legged fadeaway shots, Boyd Anderson’s Rodney Simeon was at his tough shot making best to knock District 14-7A arch rival and two-time defending Class 7A state champion Blanche Ely from the ranks of the unbeaten on Saturday.
Simeon, a highly touted transfer from Miami Central, finally had his coming out party with a game-high 23 points, including four late in regulation to force overtime as Boyd Anderson beat Ely 77-68 in overtime in the D-Hop Classic Championship game at Palm Beach Lakes.
“I’m new to this rivalry, I’m from Dade so I just had to come do what I had to do,” Simeon said. “I was feeling it when I hit that three-pointer in overtime and I just knocked it down. This is not even my best game. They haven’t seen anything yet.”
It was sweet redemption for the Cobras (9-2) who blew a seven-point lead with 48 seconds left in the rivals’ first matchup this season at Ely (13-1) and lost 78-75 in overtime.
This time it was Boyd Anderson making the winning plays down the stretch as the FABC-SourceHoops.com Class 7A No. 1 Tigers left the door open by taking an ill-advised shot and blowing a point blank layup late.
Boyd Anderson’s victory ended the Tigers’ stellar run of 52 consecutive victories against a Florida team and stopped Ely from adding to a 70-5 record over the past three seasons.
“We needed this,’’ Tigers five-time state champion coach Melvin Randall said. “We were getting too big for our pants thinking that we are immortal. Believe it or not I am okay with this loss here. I'm not going to lose any sleep. It’s back to the drawing board and reiterating what we did well and what we faulted on.”
Ely appeared on the brink of following the Chick-fil-a Classic title it won in South Carolina on Dec. 23 with the D-Hop after Joshua Floyd converted a layup to put the Tigers up 63-59 with 42 seconds left.
Ely, however, inexplicably lost Simeon on the Cobras’ next trip downcourt and he made them pay with a tough shot on the baseline to pull Boyd Anderson within 63-61. Ely’s Therrell Gosier had an opportunity to push the Tigers lead to 65-61 but missed a point blank layup. Simeon got fouled while grabbing the defensive rebound and then calmly hit two free throws with 14 seconds left to force overtime.
Boyd Anderson led 46-38 at the start of the fourth quarter when two deep three-pointers by Ely star guard Lance Tejada III sparked a Tigers rally which was capped by Floyd converting a three-point play with 2:25 left to tie the game 55-55.
Dondre Duffus had 14 points and seven assists and Deandre Wilson added 12 points for the Cobras. Tejada III had a team-high 18 points, Gosier added 14 points and a game-high 16 rebounds and Floyd had 13 points for the Tigers.
Boyd Anderson 77, Blanche Ely 68 (OT)
Ely (13-1): Gosier 15 , Tejada 18, Labadi 8 , Heastie 4, Floyd 13 , Devers 2, Goodrum 8. BA (8-2): Moise 3 , Simeon 23, Eubanks 10 , Romain 4, Duffus 14 , I. Pierre 2, P. Pierre 9. Half: Ely 28-24. Three-pointers: Simeon 3, P. Pierre 2, Tejada 4, Heastie 1, Goodrum 1. Rebounds: Gosier 16, Wilson 10, Eubanks 10, Romain 8. Steals: Duffus 4, P. Pierre 4. Assists: Duffus 7, Floyd 4.