Coral Gables was on the brink of winning the Adidas Slam Classic Championship on Saturday before blowing a 17-point fourth quarter lead and losing 78-66 to Orlando Faith Christian in overtime.
The Cavaliers held a 55-38 lead with 7:10 left but the Lions stormed back with a 24-7 run, capped by a bank shot by Greg Zuppas with 11 seconds left in regulation to tie the Dwight Howard bracket final 62-62 and send it into overtime.
Elijah Adedoyin (20 points) scored four of Faith Christian’s first 12 points in overtime and the Lions never looked back in claiming its second consecutive Adidas Slam title at Florida Christian.
“Our kids played hard as heck,’’ Cavaliers coach Chachi Rodriguez said. “Faith Christian is a very good team, not to take anything away from them. They made some baskets when we didn’t and made some free throws when we didn’t. My kids played their butts off. The result doesn’t show what my kids did.”
Rodney Martinez had a team-high 16 points, Imani Figuereo added 15 points and Coral Gables’ leading scorer P.J. Hall, shook off a scoreless first half to finish with 10 points.
In the end, Coral Gables' inability to contain the Lions’ Adedoyin, Zuppas and Kenny Leger in key stretches played as huge a role as any in the Lions’ stunning comeback.
Leger hit two three-pointers, including one in front of the Lions bench that gave the Lions a 60-59 lead with 1:01 left in regulation.
Hall helped the Cavaliers retake the lead 61-60 on a layup, and Justin Sanchez added a free throw to put the Cavaliers up 62-60 with 29.5 seconds left. But Zuppas, who manhandled the Cavaliers’ front line with a game-high 29 points, muscled in a bank shot with 11 seconds left.
“We came out with a new mentality in the fourth quarter,’’ Zuppas said. “We were more physical. That plays to my advantage especially and us as a team. Just to win the championship again, its great overall. We wanted to defend our title, so this comeback added fuel to our fire.”
Melo Aguero and Figuereo combined for three consecutive three-pointers in the first quarter to help the Cavaliers build a 21-7 lead.
Unswayed, Faith Christian answered with a 17-6 run, keyed by nine points from Adedoyin and a three-point play from Zuppas to cut the Cavaliers lead to 27-22.
MORE BOYS’ BASKETBALL
In the Derrick Rose bracket championship game, Kendall McNeil hit a high-arcing jumper from the right wing with 5.9 seconds left as Jacksonville Ed White held off Florida Christian 65-63.
The Patriots had an opportunity to tie or go ahead, but Matt Hershamn’s off-balance shot rimmed out as the buzzer sounded.
Commanders guard Damon Williams followed two free throws with a steal and layup to give the Commanders 63-59 lead with 2:07 left. But Garrett Wicks hit a three-pointer and Gabriel Perez added a free throw to tie the score 63-63. Dalvin Storey blocked Herschman’s layup attempt with 18 seconds left to preserve the tie and set up McNeil's winning shot.
GIRLS’ BASKETBALLLate Thursday — Ransom Everglades 39, Sheridan Hills Christian 33: RE: SHC: Late Thursday — Hebrew Academy 57, Archbishop Curley 41: HA (9-2): ABC:
Andrew Geraghty and Ferris Bustamante each scored a goal as Ransom Everglades cruised past Columbus 2-0.
Jake Deuel recorded the shutout in goal, anchoring the Raiders stingy defense.
With the win, the Raiders improve to 14-0-4.
Laureen Jean Jacques and Winona Paez each scored a goal to propel Miami Country Day past Westminster Christian 2-1.
Ava Hansen dished out two assists in the win.Miami Country Day 2, Westminster Christian 1: