LAKELAND — The St. Andrew’s Scots faced a long and challenging road in the 2020 postseason.
Boca St. Andrew’s, coming out of one of the toughest regions in the state, held off Jacksonville Andrew Jackson, 57-50, Saturday to win the Class 3A state championship game at RP Funding Center.
It is the Scots’ first state title in school history and first for 35-year coach John O’Connell.
“It’s just an incredible feeling,” O’Connell said in the post-game press conference. “It was so many ups and downs in that game.
“What a road we’ve had,” O’Connell said. “If you look at the top five teams in 3A all may be top 20 in the state. We had to go through the other four. You know, we had to go through [three-time defending state champion] Westminster [Academy], through Santa Fe Catholic, then to Chaminade and then to Andrew Jackson. So of the top five teams we had to go through the other four and then we’re the fifth. So this is truly an accomplishment to get to this point.”
Yussif Basa-Ama led the way for the Scots (26-5) with 23 points and 7 rebounds. The 6-foot-9 Yale recruit connected on 8 of 16 from the field and 7 of 9 from the free-throw line.
2021 D-1 prospect Joshua Minott added 13 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. St. Andrew’s shot 20 for 43 overall (47 percent) as a team while holding Andrew Jackson to 18 for 54 (33 percent).
Asked if this is the best team in St. Andrew’s school history, O’Connell said: “They’re the only ones hanging a banner.”
Logan West led Andrew Jackson (25-4) with 14 points and 7 rebounds.
Andrew Jackson did outrebound St. Andrew’s 35-31 and forced the Scots into 16 turnovers.
St. Andrew’s losses this season were to Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian, Boyd Anderson, Jacksonville Lee, Gulliver Prep and Mater Academy. Two of the losses came in overtimes. It’s only double-digit loss was to Gulliver.
The Scots led 11-10 after one quarter, 33-24 at the half and 46-42 going to the fourth quarter.
The game was tied 48-all with 4:10 remaining before St. Andrew’s pulled away. Jack May had two big buckets and a steal in the final run.
If you have high school or travel basketball news you can reach Pat Lammer at PatALammer@Gmail.com