There were a lot of choices around the state to catch some quality hoops while recovering from our “turkey day binge” on Friday. We decided to head down to Broward County to catch the Flying Ls Pre-Season Shootout at Fort Lauderdale High School. Four games featuring some of South Florida’s finest programs and a couple from out of the area made the trip more than worth the time.
Oakland Park Northeast vs. West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy
Both teams harbor post-season aspirations, so this was a very interesting match-up. However, Oxbridge came into the game short-handed as senior Keidron Smith was preparing for a football semi-final while junior Dante Wilcox sat out the game with a leg injury.
None of that seemed to matter to Oxbridge. After a slow start to the first quarter that found the score only 4-2 in favor of Oxbridge midway thru the period, Oxbridge ran off nine unanswered points to lead 13-2. Northeast responded with an 8-0 run to get back into the contest. The second quarter was just as tight and after one half of play, the score was tied at 26 all.
Northeast scored the first six points of the third quarter and led by eight at 38-30 midway thru the period. Oxbridge had an answer and by the end of the third they were back within a possession at 47-44. Oxbridge continued their run to open the fourth and tied the game at 47. Northeast would take over from that point and slowly grow the lead. The margin was only five at 65-60 with two minutes left but Northeast would convert at the free throw line to close out the contest and win 71-63.
Jeremiah Sanders, a 6’3 senior, paced Northeast with 23 points. 6’2 seniors Brandon Swaby (14) and Ricardo Jackson (10), and freshman Wesley Cardett (10) reached double-figures.
For Oxbridge Academy, 6’5 senior Ronique Spencer led the way with 20 points while 6’2 junior A.J. Cajuste tallied 18 points.
Coral Gables vs. Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian
Calvary Christian, last year’s Class 5A champ, returns only one key player from last season but he is quite important. 6’8 senior Solomon Uyaelunmo, a Towson State signee, provides Calvary with a size advantage and a go-to player every game. This one would be no different.
Calvary got off to a good start and led 10-6 midway thru the opening period. Gables responded to take a 16-12 lead going into the second quarter. Calvary knotted the score at twenty at the four-minute mark and continued to ride the inside presence of Solomon to a five-point 28-23 halftime lead.
The teams played evenly in the third as Calvary was never able to extend its lead much beyond six points while Gables seemingly could never get closer than two possessions. Calvary looked in control with a 41-37 lead going into the final period. Gables decided to extend and amp up the defensive pressure and it worked. Calvary turnovers became Gables baskets and they took their first lead since early in the game with 3:30 to play at 47-46. Calvary seemingly abandoned their main option in Solomon in an effort to close the gap from beyond the arc. This only allowed Gables to extend their advantage and finish the game with a 53-46 win.
Coral Gables was led by 5’9 junior Josh Dawkins with 19 points while 5’10 senior Yohamad Rodriguez added 15 points.
For Calvary, Solomon produced a solid double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Fort Lauderdale HS vs. Orlando West Oaks Academy
West Oaks, a member of the Sunshine Independent Athletic Association (SIAA), made the three-hour trip south to face a mirror image of itself as Fort Lauderdale likes to pressure and play up-tempo as well. This game was also sort of a homecoming for West Oaks senior Ben Tal who played in South Florida last season at Hebrew Academy.
It was a back and forth battle in the first quarter with both teams taking the other’s best shot. After one period of play, West Oaks led by a mere one point at 14-13. That would be as close as the host Flyin’ Ls would make the game. West Oaks outscored them 35-15 in the second quarter to take complete control of the game, leading 49-28 at the half.
Try as they might, Fort Lauderdale just could not contend with the guard play and pressure of West Oaks in the second half of the game. A running clock kicked in early in the fourth quarter and West Oaks would head back up north with a resounding 90-53 victory.
Given the green light for his homecoming, 6’0 senior Ben Tal led West Oaks with 40 points, 25 in the second half. 6’4 sophomore Selton Miguel reached double-figures as well with 12 points.
Antonio Daye, a 6’2 senior led Fort Lauderdale with 26 points.
Miramar HS vs. Gainesville The Rock School
The Rock School has been a longtime power in boys’ basketball in Florida, both during their time in the FHSAA and as one of the founding members of the SIAA. A young team with only two seniors on the roster, they took on one of the favorites in the state’s largest classification (9A) in Miramar. Both teams have guys with D-I level talent, so it looked to be an interesting contest.
The Rock got out to a quick 8-2 lead, forcing a Miramar time out just three minutes into the contest. The TO helped and by the end of the period, Miramar had used some hot three-point shooting to take a seven point, 20-13 lead. The Rock was unfazed and narrowed the gap slowly over the course of the second quarter. Down two with a couple of ticks left on the clock before half-time, junior Trey McCray launched a half-court shot that found the bottom of the net just as the horn sounded. That basket gave The Rock a one point 32-31 lead at the half.
The second half would prove to be just as competitive as the first two quarters. The Rock was able to keep its lead for most of the third, but when that period ended, the score was tied at 52. Miramar reclaimed the lead quickly in the fourth period and was up one at 63-62 with four minutes to play. At that point, The Rock would go on a 5-0 run to grab a lead it would never relinquish. In a close contest, The Rock came out on top with a 77-74 win.
The Rock’s guard trio led the way for the team. McCray had a team-high 27 points, sinking six treys in the process. B.J. Greenlee, a 6’0 junior, added 24 points, including four crucial free throws to ice the game while 6’3 senior Antrell Charleton deposited 16 points.
For Miramar, they had a terrific trio of their own. Damion Miller, a 6’5 senior, led the way with 23 points while 6’5 senior Jamir Moore added 20 and 6’7 senior Emmanuel West finished with 10 points.