It wasn’t pretty at times and there were moments of doubt, but the North Miami basketball team came out on top in its Junior Orange Bowl Basketball Classic semifinal on Friday night.
The Pioneers defeated South Miami 65-60 to advance to the championship game. North Miami will play Maryland’s St. Maria Goretti at 8 p.m. Saturday for the title. Goretti defeated host Palmetto 48-45 in the second semifinal of the night.
“We’re very excited. Last year we didn’t get to place where we wanted to,” North Miami coach Ray Benoit said. “This year, we’re looking to make a statement.”
After a first half that featured five lead changes and six ties ended with the teams even at 36-36, North Miami (8-3) made its charge. The Pioneers outscored South Miami 18-9 in the third quarter and held off a pair of fourth-quarter runs from the Cobras (9-4) to advance to the championship.
“The third quarter is usually our quarter,” Benoit said. “We came in there. We played really hard. I’m just proud we got the victory.”
North Miami senior Richard Charles scored a game-high 22 points, including 15 in the first half, and grabbed 10 rebounds. Carlos Hart added 13 points, while Chamon Metayer and Marc Merronne chipped in 12 and 10 points respectively.
Toru Dean led South Miami with 19 points, while Lee Flenor had a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
In the second semifinal, Palmetto watched a six-point lead in the second quarter vanish as Goretti went on a 15-0 run spanning from the final seconds of the second quarter to midway through the third period. The Panthers regained the lead early in the fourth on a pair of Jovan Debrito three-pointers, going up 38-36, but Goretti outscored Palmetto 11-7 the rest of the way. Debrito led Palmetto with 17 points.
▪ Putnam City West 78, Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy 68: Putnam City West led 39-22 at halftime and held off a late Oxbridge rally to advance to the finals and hand the ThunderWolves (12-1) their first loss of the season.
▪ Fiarfax (Va.) Paul VI 74, Tallahassee FSU High 24: This one was over shortly after it began. Paul VI hit six three-pointers in the first quarter and led 47-12 at halftime to force a second-half running clock. Senior Elizabeth Thibodeau led the way with 17 points, all in the first half.
▪ Pines Charter 78, Wildwood 63: Justin Debuck scored 37 points on 14-of-17 shooting to lead the Jaguars (6-6) in the consolation game win. Geoff Sprouse chipped in 16 points in the win.
▪ Schoolhouse Prep 83, Tallahassee FSU High 59: Cedrick Saint Jean scored 20 points, Ange Dibwa added 17 and Reiner Obray chipped in 11 to lead Schoolhouse Prep (2-6) to a bounceback win over Tallahassee FSU High after a 76-50 loss to open its time at the Junior Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.
▪ Miami High 63, Gulliver 31: The Stingarees jumped out to a 32-11 lead at halftime and never looked back. Shekinah Rachel, Janay Quinn and Colleen Bucknor each scored 10 points for Miami High (9-3). Rachel also hauled in a game-high eight rebounds. Kaitlyn Sanders led Gulliver (10-2) with a game-high 11 points.
▪ Norland 56, Ferguson 27: Behind 15 points from Jayiah Harris-Smith and 12 from Dymond Rolle, Norland made quick work of Ferguson in their consolation game. The Vikings (9-4) led 33-11 at halftime and didn’t allow Ferguson (8-5) to score than eight points in a given quarter. Andrea Torres led Ferguson with 11 points.
MORE BOYS’ BASKETBALL
▪ Doral 67, St Francis 32 at Hitchcock Challenge: DA- Carter 27, Nuñez 13, Pellerano 7, Mercado 5, Alawie 4, Eman 3, Martinez 2, Torres 2, Lehrman 2, Urena 2; SF- Newman 8, Lovett’s 5, Jackson 4, Rizzo 4, Yepez 4, C Littles 3, O Littles 2, Williams 2.
▪ St. Brendan 61, Ferguson 44 at LaSalle Holiday Classic: STB- Spina 14, Valenzuela 12, Hernandez 10, Perez 9, Saller 9, Iglesias 3, Maristany 2, Taveras 2; FER- Abad 9, Rawls 8, Hernandez 6, Diehs 6, Azocar 5, Hurtado 5, Guajerdo 3, Martinez 2
MORE GIRLS’ BASKETBALL
▪ Miami Country Day School 68, Holy Innocents (Georgia) 51: MCD (9-1): M. Alvarez 16, K. Love 16, S. Shaw 4, J. Theodule 2, E. Theodule 16, M. McCormack 6, K. Gordon 6, K. Godfrey 2; HI: R. Suttle 11, C. Foster 10, C. Birkel 6, M. Hudgins 8, J. Farrell 5, M. Reeves 2, J. Hollingshead 9.
▪ Archbishop McCarthy 1, Delray American Heritage 0: Sophia Goetz 1 goal, Cassie Lawson 1 assist; Jordyn Gifford and Isa Quintero combined shutout; AM: 13-0-0.