High School Sports

Central’s Phillip Saunders will aim for college after playing in Dade-Broward all-star game

Miami Central player Phillip Saunders, center, drives towards the basket during the GMAC final against Miami Beach on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015 at Miami High.
Miami Central player Phillip Saunders, center, drives towards the basket during the GMAC final against Miami Beach on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015 at Miami High. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

On the days Miami Central star guard Phillip Saunders needs a little extra motivation he looks no further than the scripture scribbled on his sneakers and on a piece of paper in his bedroom.

Saunders said Phillipians 4:13 — “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” — helped him spark Central’s deepest postseason run since 1998 and his quest to become the first in his family to attend college.

Saunders, who will lead Miami-Dade against Broward in the T.O.C All-Star Game at Coral Springs City Gymnasium on Sunday, said his dream to attend college is about to come true with Thomas College in Maine, Barry University as well as Johnson and Wales University being among his biggest pursuers.

“Nobody in my family has ever gone to college,” Saunders said. “I want to be the one to change that. Basketball is my ticket to the next level.”

Saunders averaged 14.3 points and 5.3 assists to help the Rockets (24-5) step out of the shadow of the school’s powerhouse football team and become a threat in 7A.

Behind Saunders, Central upset eventual 6A state champion Norland 50-47 in the GMAC Championships semifinal before defeating Miami Beach for the title.

The All-Star Game will provide Saunders another shot at 7A state champion Blanche Ely — which ended his season in the Region 4-7A final and will be represented by coach Melvin Randall and three players.

“Three years ago I wasn’t taking basketball seriously,” Saunders said. “Basketball is my life now. The reason I play with so much hunger are all the doubters saying what I couldn’t do. I’m just trying to prove them wrong and get to college.”

In a wide-open slam dunk contest, Everglades’ high-flying 6-5 swingman Derric Theoc believes his creativity will set him apart from the rest of the field.

Theoc, who left fans wide-eyed with a game-securing dunk against Miramar in the district playoffs, said he was leaning toward a between-the-legs dunk.

“It’s all in the creativity that I’m going to come up with,” Theoc said. “ Usually people can’t do the certain moves I can at this age.”

Baseball

▪ Coral Gables 2, South Miami 0: Tyler Santana pitched six innings and gave up two hits with nine strikeouts to lift the Cavaliers (4-2) in a District 15-8A game.

Gables took a 1-0 lead in the third when David Webel came home on a double-steal. In the sixth, Elih Marrero hit a solo shot over the right field fence for an insurance run as Jose Padron closed it out in the seventh by striking out the side.

SM: 000-000-0 -- -- 0-2-1

CG: 001-001-x -- -- 2-3-1

WP: Tyler Santana (2-0); LP: A.Rodriguez; Sv: Jose Padron (1).

▪ Southwest 6, Coral Park 2

SW: 010-021-2 -- -- 6-12-2

CP: 020-000-0 -- -- 2-7-4

WP: Andres Fletes; LP: Carlos Cabañas. Top performers: Robert Campo 2-3, 2 RBI; Austin Sprinkle 2-4, 2 RBI, 2B; Alec Delgado 2-4; Fletes CG, 1 ER. SW 2-7, CP 3-6.

▪ SLAM 13, Westwood Christian 1: Jose Garcia 4 RBI, 2 RS; Andres Santana 3-4, 2 RS, 2 RBI; Andrew Velez 3-4, RS, 5 RBI.

▪ Hialeah Gardens 16, Hialeah 6: Ramon Garcia 3-4, 2 2B, 5 RBI; Nathan Llanes 2-3, 2B, 3B, 2 RS, 4 RBI; Mike Ramirez 2-3, 2 RS, 3 RBI; Chris Clara 2-4, 2B, 3 RS.

▪ Florida Christian 11, Palmer Trinity 1: Alex Nodarse 6 K; Will de Leon 3 RBI. FC 5-3.

▪ Archbishop McCarthy 19, Coconut Creek 0: Kobe Lopez 2-3, RBI; Dylan Bautista 6 RBI; Fred Matos 3 RBI.

▪ Jackson 18, Central 1: Francisco Brenes 3-3, 2 2B, 3 RBI; Brian Valle 3-3, 4 RBI. Jax 5-5.

Softball

▪ American 15, North Miami Beach 0: Alexis Castroman 2 IP, 2K; Kayleen Romero 2-2, 2 2B, 3 RBI; Karla Soza 2-3, 2B, 4 RBI; Alexis Guzman 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI.

▪ Lourdes 18, South Miami 3: Cynthia Morera 2-3, 2 grand slams, 8 RBI; Gaby Gonzalez 3-3, 3B, 4 RBI; Natasha Gonzalez 2-3, 2 RBI.

▪ Coral Gables 18, South Miami 1: Perna 0 H, 7 K, 4 RBI; Meghan Ballard 3-3, 3B, HR, 5 RBI; CG: 8-1-1.

▪ Doral 25, Homestead 0: Jennifer Acevedo 3 IP, 6 K, 3-3; Anielieses Palmeiro 4-4, 5 RBI, 4 2B; Samantha Lageyre 3-3, 3 RBI, 4 RS.

▪ SLAM 15, GMAA 8: Jailene Garcia 3-5, 6 SO; Arielys Rodriguez 4-5, HR, 4 RBI; Nicole Toloza 3-5; Martha Franco 3-4, 2 HR, triple play.

▪ Hialeah Gardens 11, Miami Springs 10: Alexa Lavernia 3-3; Emily Torres 2B; Amanda Hernandez HR.

BOYS’ VOLLEYBALL

▪ Miami Springs d. Mater Academy 25-18, 25-19, 25-16: Mark Bentancourt 22 assists; Phillip Alonso 6 kills, 2 aces; John Simpson 7 kills, 5 digs, 3 blocks. MS 1-0.

▪ Ransom Everglades d. Columbus 17-25, 25-19, 27-25, 27-25: Mike Colonna 21 kills; Nick Cobb 15 kills.

▪ South Broward d. Everglades 25-17, 26-24, 25-19: Garay 17 kills, 17 digs, 10 service points. SB 2-0.

▪ Palmetto d. Westminster Christian 25-23 25-11 25-23: Joey Sensale 8 aces, 5 digs; Andres Cowley 11 assists.

▪ Palmetto d. Westminster Christian 25-14 25-20 25-27 25-20: Thomas Latimer 19 assists, 9 kills, 6 digs; Sean Diaz-Gomez 9 points.

Boys’ lacrosse

▪ Belen Jesuit 14, Western 2: D.Dager 3 goals; G. Garcia 3 goals; B. Pascual and Adrian Rey 2 goals each.

▪ Ransom Everglades 14, LaSalle 0: Alec Allmon 3 goals, 2 assists; Nic Murphy 2 goals, 4 assists; Alex Kucera, Tucker Cina 2 goals each.

▪ Westminster Academy 20, Douglas 7: Jason Woodburn 9 goals; Will Scasserra 3 goals; Charles Schwab (Doug) 3 goals.

Girls’ lacrosse

▪ Cardinal Gibbons 17, Cypress Bay 9: Olivia Maguire 3 goals, assist; Susanne Sieler 4 goals; Paige Dudziak 3 goals, 3 assists. CG 5-3, CB 3-6.

▪ University School 13, South Plantation 8: Caroline Kapp 5 goals, 2 assists; Jada Preston 4 goals; Madison Kaplan 2 goals.

▪ Westminster Academy 22, Douglas 1: Koral LaStella 6 goals; Naomi Sanders 5 goals.

Boys’ tennis

▪ Taravella 6, Cardinal Gibbons 1: 1: Gagne (CG) d. Gapeev 8-5; 2: Kaam (T) d. Cole 8-2; 3: Kreider (T) d. Piedra 8-2; 1 doubles: Kaam/Ou (T) d. Vaca/Piedra 8-6.

▪ Mourning 5, Jackson 2: Tom Jaworski 8-0; Santiago Uribe 8-0; Aziz Abuyd 8-0. Mour 7-0.

▪ Palmetto 6, Sunset 1: No. 1 singles: Alex Petrovic (Pal) d. Zack McDougal 8-0; 3: Anthony Ouertani (Pal) d. Luis Gonzalez 8-0. Pal 5-3.

Girls’ tennis

▪ Cardinal Gibbons 7, Taravella 0: No. 1 singles: N.Lambert (CG) d. Ramirez-Alverez 8-1l 2: G.Ferrante (CG) d. A.Brocki 8-0; 3: G.Harmon (CG) d. G.Campbell 8-0.

▪ Gulliver 6, Dr. Krop 1: 2: Alyssa Pujals 8-0; 3: Ysabel Gonzalez Rico 8-2; 4: Lindy Lyons 8-1; 5: Tatiana Ramirez 8-1.

Girls’ water polo

▪ Hialeah 15, Miami High 14 (OT): Ashley Luy 10 goals; Kattie Ulloa (GWG).

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