Miami-Dade High Schools

Dean leads South Miami to opening round win in Jr. Orange Bowl tourney

South Miami’s Toru Dean eludes two Wildwood defenders on his way to a driving layup. Dean led the Cobras to a first round victory with 28 points in Thursday’s opening round of the Junior Orange Bowl Basketball Classic at Palmetto High School.
South Miami’s Toru Dean eludes two Wildwood defenders on his way to a driving layup. Dean led the Cobras to a first round victory with 28 points in Thursday’s opening round of the Junior Orange Bowl Basketball Classic at Palmetto High School. Courtesy of Junior Orange Bowl

If it was a hoops fix you wanted, it was a hoops fix you got on Thursday. That as a load of boys and girls basketball quarterfinal games beginning a 9 a.m. and running late in to the evening, kicked off the Junior Orange Bowl Basketball Classic at Palmetto High School.

The headliner performance came from South Miami senior Toru Dean who poured in 28 points on 12-of-22 shooting from the floor including four steals and three assists to lead the Cobras to a 74-40 rout of defending Class 1A state champion Wildwood in an afternoon matchup.

“We got off to a slow start but it was just a matter of staying with it,” said Dean, a Barry University commit whose team lost in the Jr. Orange Bowl finals in overtime a year ago after squandering a double digit second half lead. “It was disappointing last year because we had this tournament won and it slipped away on us. We want to get it back this time.

South Miami trailed 21-19 midway through the second quarter before taking off on a 21-4 run to close out the half and never looked back. The Cobras (8-3) were also paced by Lee Flenor (20 points, 14 rebounds) and Toru’s younger brother Arturo Dean who scored 15 and pulled down 7 boards.

South Miami will take on North Miami in a semifinal matchup Friday at 6:30 p.m. with the championship game set for Saturday at 8 p.m.

Things were a lot rougher for South Florida teams on the girls side as all four, Gulliver, Miami High, Ferguson and Norland lost their quarterfinal games to out-of-town teams.

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OTHER QUARTERFINAL GAMES

BOYS

North Miami 70, Pembroke Pines Charter 67: Deandre Daniels’ three point shot at the buzzer bounced off the rim as North Miami (7-3) hung on for the win.

The Pioneers were led by Carlos Hart and Richard Charles. Hart finished with a game high 23 points and lit it up from beyond the arc hitting five of seven three pointers. Charles finished with 17 points and led all rebounders with nine boards.

Palmetto 77, Tallahassee Florida High 57: Playing on their home floor, the Panthers jumped out to an early double digit lead and cruised to the easy win. Palmetto (10-1) was led by Florida Gulf Coast commit Kentron Poitier (who also has multiple football offers) who finished with 21 points and six rebounds.

Gary Bess (11), Jovan Debrito (10) and Marcos Molina (10) also reached double figures for the Panthers who will face St. Maria Goretti (MD) in a semifinal Friday at 8 p.m.

St. Maria Goretti (MD) 76, Schoolhouse Prep 50: St. Maria Goretti (10-3) used a 22-4 advantage in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. Rahsaan Edwards led the way for the Maryland school with 16 points, while Cedrick Saint Jean had 16 for Schoolhouse Prep (1-6)

GIRLS

Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy 65, Miami High 55: Perhaps the two best girls teams in the tournament who unfortunately got matched up in the first round went to the defending 5A state champion and No. 1 ranked Thunderwolves.

With three Division I commits including Vanderbilt-bound Kaylon Smith, Oxbridge (12-0) trailed 39-36 midway through the third before going on a 9-0 run to take a six point lead and led the rest of the way.

Smith was one of four Oxbridge players to score in double figures and led the way in both scoring and rebounds with 16 and 10, respectively.

Miami High (8-4), the defending 9A runnerup that lost at the buzzer in last year’s title game was led by Jeanine Scott (18 points) along with Ferguson transfer and FIU commit Cheyanne Daniels who pulled down 7 rebounds.

Putnam City West 61, Gulliver Prep. 31: Gulliver brought a perfect 10-0 record into the game but suffered its first loss of the season as Putnam City West, from Oklahoma City and the No. 2 ranked team in Oklahoma, broke open a close game by outscoring the Raiders 25-3 in the fourth quarter. Kaitlyn Sanders led the way for Gulliver with 12 points.

Paul VI (Va.) 63, Ferguson 32: Ferguson may have been the defending Jr. Orange Bowl champions but graduation and transfers have left the Falcons a shell of what was once a county power. And it showed as Paul VI (from Fairfax, Va.) jumped out to a huge lead early and made quick work of the Falcons. Ferguson (8-4) was led by Andrea Torres who had 18 points including three three pointers.

Tallahassee Florida High 63, Norland 53: Norland led by as many as six early in the third quarter but could not overcome the hot three point shooting from the Seminoles who nailed seven of their eight threes in the second half. Jayiah Harris-Smith led the way for Norland (8-4) with 22 points and 7 rebounds followed by Veonce Powell with 11 points.

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