Norland knew one of its biggest challenges in the GMAC boys’ basketball tournament would come literally in the form of much-improved Miami Beach and 7-1 freshman center Zach Brown.
It didn’t take long for the two-time defending state champions to overcome their tall obstacle, however.
After trailing briefly in the opening minutes, the Vikings used a 22-2 surge to take the lead for good and cruise past Miami Beach for an 84-62 victory in a GMAC quarterfinal at Miami Central.
Norland (18-5) advances to play Coral Gables on Tuesday in the semifinal round at Miami High at 6 p.m. The Cavaliers beat Central in the other quarterfinal Monday night 69-57.
“We turned them over a little bit after that early run, and it was key to get [Brown] into foul trouble,” Norland coach Lawton Williams said. “The faces on our team may change, but what we do doesn’t, which is fundamentally sound basketball.”
Four Norland players scored in double figures, led by Dewan Huell’s 18 points and 12 rebounds. Zachary Johnson finished with 17 points and four steals. Ryan Mike hit four three-pointers to finish with 12 points.
Tyrell Williams dominated on the glass with 15 rebounds as Norland got Brown into foul trouble, forcing him to miss most of the third quarter as the Vikings led by as many as 25.
Brown, who transferred to Miami Beach from Archbishop Curley before the season, has helped the Hi-Tides’ turnaround from a five-win season. Brown finished with 16 points Monday, but had his hands full with Norland’s interior defense.
Huell and Williams each had three blocks.GMAC Quarterfinal- Coral Gables 69, Central 57:
Looks like Arkansas is doing all right without with Charlie Partridge on its staff.
Despite getting a decommitment in the last week from Plantation tight end Ravian Pierce — who was close with Partridge, FAU’s new coach — the Razorbacks received oral commitments from three South Florida players in two days.
Dillard safety Randy Ramsey announced his pledge to Arkansas on Sunday, with Miami Norland wide receiver Kendrick Edwards and Miami Gulliver Prep receiver Cornelius Floyd following suit on Monday.
Ramsey and Edwards are fresh off of their official visits to the school this past weekend, while Floyd took his official visit on Jan. 17.
All three prospects — rated three stars by 247 Sports — were heavily recruited by former Miami Hurricanes coach and current Arkansas assistant/linebackers coach Randy Shannon.