Miami Central, a national powerhouse in football, was once at an elite level in boys’ basketball.
In the late 1970s and early ’80s under legendary coach Irv Baulkman, the Rockets made two state final four appearances and won a state title.
Central is taking what it hopes are the first steps toward becoming a consistent contender again.
Led by Anthony Wilson’s 27 points, eight assists and seven steals, the Rockets picked up another quality victory Monday night by beating Miami High 83-67 in a GMAC quarterfinal at Miami Norland.
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Central (18-4), which beat previously undefeated Champagnat Catholic last week at the MLK Classic and Coral Gables, advances to play three-time reigning Class 6A state champion Norland on Tuesday in a semifinal at 7:30 p.m.
Miami Beach and Southridge were victorious on the other side of the bracket and will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Miami High, where both semifinals will be played.
“We returned a lot of guys from last season and we had a great summer in the weight room and in the gym,” second-year Central coach Maurice Troupe said. “They’ve dedicated themselves to get better, and it shows right now.”
Troupe became the Rockets coach last season and led them to their first district championship since 1998. That season was the last time Central won a regional playoff game.
▪ GMAC quarterfinal — Norland 66, South Miami 55: Norland teams over the years don’t often allow opponents to drain double-digit amounts of three-pointers. But South Miami connected on 12 long-distance attempts and nearly upset the three-time defending state champions.
But the Cobras had no answer for forward Dewan Huell, who finished with 28 points, nine rebounds and four blocks to lead the Vikings (16-7). Ishmael Davis led South Miami (12-9) with 19 points.
CEN (18-4): Saunders 15, Turnier 7, Nunnally 1, Wilson 27, Occi 14, Thomas 2, McFadden 4, St. Fluer 4, Wynn 9. MHS (15-8): Young 2, Nicholas 11, Chevalier 5, Sierra 28, Garcia 9, Butler 10, Shannon 2. Half: CEN 36-24. Fouled out: Turnier, Butler. Three-pointers: Saunders 3, Wilson 2, Occi, Nicholas 2, Garcia 3. Rebounds: Wynn 9. Assists: Wilson 8. Steals: Wilson 7.
NOR (16-7): D. Williams 3, Raye 2, Jean-Baptiste 14, Andre 11, Waite 4, Huell 28, Waugh 4. SM (12-9): Dawson 17, M. Davis 6, Brown 7, Davidson 6, I. Davis 19. Half: N 33-24. Three-pointers: I. Davis 6, Dawson 3, Brown, Davidson 2, Williams, Jean-Baptiste 2, Huell. Rebounds: Huell 9. Assists: Waite 5. Blocks: Huell 4.