BOCA RATON — Seniors Gabe Taylor and Tony Sanders combined for 54 points Friday night to carry Miami Gulliver Prep past Boca St. Andrew’s, 78-66, in a battle of 10-3 programs.
Taylor (pictured), a talented point guard, made 20 of 21 free-throw attempts and hit three 3-pointers en route to a 31-point, 5-rebound performance.
Sanders, a 6-6/6-7 wing, went for 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field. He also hit three 3s and added 8 rebounds for the Class 4A Raiders.
“Gabe is a phenomenal free-throw shooter — he shoots 95 percent,” said Gulliver head coach Gary DeCesare. “Gabe is great. He’s the fastest guard I’ve ever coached. If I was a college coach, I would be all over him. He’s one of the best point guards in the state of Florida. And Tony Sanders is one of the best players in the state of Florida, too.”
Class 3A St. Andrew’s jumped out to a 15-5 advantage to start the game thanks to a 15-3 rebounding advantage. 2021 Josh Minott had 6 rebounds in the first quarter alone.
But Gulliver Prep turned the game around from the free-throw line. The Raiders turned a 15-5 deficit into a 33-26 second-quarter lead. The Scots, on the other hand, struggled mightily from the charity stripe.
At the half, Gulliver was 11 for 11 on free throws. St. Andrew’s shot 5 for 23. Devin Hines missed 8 of his first 9 free throws and Minott went 1 for 8 over the first two quarters.
Gulliver led 37-30 at the half and took a 54-45 advantage into the fourth period.
“We only gave up three offensive rebounds in the second half,” DeCesare said. “I told our guys we keep them off the boards we’ll win the game.”
Senior Diego LaMonica — a tight end in football who signed with Vanderbilt — also hit double-digits for Gulliver with 10 points and 6 rebounds.
“We’re coming along very well,” Taylor said. “We’re bonding on the court and off the court. We proved that we are one of the top teams in the state, in the country, too. We’ll play anybody.”
Yale 6-9 forward recruit Yussif Basa-Ama led St. Andrew’s with 22 points and 9 rebounds. Basa-Ama made 6 of his 7 shots from the field in the second half.
Four others scored in double figures for St. Andrew’s: Minott (12), Landon Brody (11), Jackson May (10) and Hines (10).
But again, it was that free-throw line performance that killed the Scots. They finished 11 for 34. Twenty-three misses in what ended up being a 12-point game.
If you have high school or travel basketball news, you can reach Pat Lammer at PatALammer@Gmail.com