We headed south to Cardinal Gibbons in Fort Lauderdale to take in the Saturday edition of the Sunshine State Pre-Season Classic. The chaotic weather in that area caused some cancellations and schedule adjustments but all in all it was the quality event we expected.
Game #1: Miami Divine Savior vs. Oakland Park Northeast
Northeast got out to a fast start in this one, leading 8-1 midway through the first quarter. The score was 10-1 when Divine Savior finally called a timeout to stop the bleeding. Magic words must have been said because Divine Savior closed the gap to within one, 13-12, with forty-five seconds left in the quarter. The margin was still one point, 16-15 going into the second period. The first two minutes of the second period was all Divine Savior as they put on a 10-2 spurt to lead 25-18 with 5:55 left in the half. Now it was Northeast’s turn to call time out. The Hurricanes got back to within two at 27-25 with four minutes left in the quarter. By the end of the half, Northeast had regained control and led by three,37-34.
In the third quarter, the score remained close and NE led 44-42 at the midway point. Divine Savior then made an 8-0run and had a five-point advantage with one minute in the period. However, that prosperity didn’t last. Divine Savior fouled a Northeast three-point shot attempt and the Hurricanes hit all three free throws. Divine Savior then turned the ball over on its next possession. This led to a Northeast score that tied the game at 53-53 going into the final period. It looked like Northeast had assumed control with an opening 8-2 run, but Divine Savior struck back with a 6-0 run of their own and the game was at 61-61 with 4:20 left when Northeast took a time out. The game was tied at 65-65 when Northeast’s 6’1 senior Anthony Rodriguez scored a fast break basket. On Divine Savior’s next possession. 6’5 senior Chanler Joseph of Northeast stole the ball with seventeen seconds left and scored to make it a two-possession game. Divine Savior missed its next shot and had to foul on the rebound. Northeast hit one of two free throws to close out the game and win by the score of 70-65.
Northeast was paced by 6’2 junior Landen Joseph with 22 points while Chanler Joseph had 11 points as did 5’9 junior Zolan Bennett.
Divine Savior’s 6’5 sophomore David Watson led all scorers with 24 points while 6’1 junior Erick Morales added 23 points.
Game #2: Pompano Beach Ely vs. Nova Southeast University School
The first quarter of this game could kindly be called slow and sloppy. U-School led 7-5 midway through the quarter but the score was only 11-8 to start the second period. Things picked up a bit as U-School went on a bit of a run to lead 16-10 with just over six minutes left in the half, forcing an Ely timeout. The Tigers would get to within three at 16-13 with four minutes left but U-School built back the lead and had a 24-18 advantage at the break.
U-School continued it superior play in the third quarter and led by double-digits, 32-22, with 3:43 left in the period, forcing a Tigers timeout. Now it was Ely’s turn to make a run. The Tigers finished out the period outscoring the Sharks 14-4 to tie the game at 36-36 going into the final period. Two things happened for the Tigers to start the fourth: Ely’s 6’0 junior Trey George connected on back-to-back threes and Ely’s press finally started paying dividends. It forced turnovers and U-School struggled to keep pace. Midway thru the quarter, the Tigers led 45-39. U-School had one more run in them. They got to within 44-40 and had a chance to cut it to two but missed an easy transition basket. With time now a factor, U-School was forced to foul to get the ball back. Ely held off the Sharks at the foul line to win by a score of 54-46.
Ely put three players in double-figures as George led the way with 11 points while 6’1 junior Jayden McNabb and 6’5 junior Jayelen Jonas both had 10 points.
The Shark’s were paced by 6’3 senior Anthony Ferrer with 11 points.
Game #3: Coral Springs vs. North Broward Prep
This was going to be a tough game for North Broward Prep. Not only is Coral Springs a top ten team in our Pre-Season Class 7A rankings, but the Eagles of NBP were missing SIX rotation players. Enrico Borrio, NBP’s 6’8 senior and Jacksonville University signee was the big name missing as he was playing in a FIBA 17U tournament for Brazil. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when Coral Springs jumped out to an early lead. With just a little over a minute to play in the first, Coral Springs led 13-4. NBP scored the last five points of the period to get within 13-9. That run continued in the second quarter and midway through the period, the Eagles led 16-15. Part of the problem for Coral Springs was 6’4 senior Romae Brown was sitting out with three fouls. Both teams continued to battle and trade the lead back and forth but when half-time rolled around, North Broward Prep led by two, 25-23.
Coral Springs tied the score in the first possession of the third, but a quick five points by NBP forced a Coral Springs timeout. An 8-2 run after that timeout by Coral Springs gave them a 33-32 lead with 4:30 remaining. A bit later with the score tied at 35-35, North Broward Prep went on an 8-2 run to lead 43-37 with 1:44 left. Coral Springs responded, closing the gap to 45-41 heading into the final quarter. Moving ahead in the final period, the score was tied at 48-48 with 2:24 to play after a drive and score by Coral Springs 6’2 senior James Saulsby. Coral Springs extended its lead to five as 6’4 junior Alex Pierre-Louis scored on a drive and Brown hit three of four free throws on two separate possessions. North Broward Prep hit a three with under thirty seconds to play to make it a two-point game at 53-51. Coral Springs would add two more free throws while North Broward Prep missed a shot then turned the ball over on its final possession. Coral Springs holds on to win a tight one 55-51.
Saulsby, Brown, and Pierre-Louis each scored 14 points for Coral Springs.
For North Broward Prep, 6’5 senior Raul Perez and 6’2 sophomore Jayden Smith each scored 14 points while 6’1 senior Dylan Hoffman tossed in 10 points.
Game #4: Miami Southridge vs. Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
This contest got off to a much quicker start than the previous one. The score was tied at 10-10 midway through and when the first eight minutes were done, Southridge led 18-13. Gibbons fought through it and tied the score at 20-20 in just over two minutes of playing time. However, whenever it seemed that Gibbons might take the lead and gain some momentum, Southridge had an answer. When the halftime break came around, Southridge led by five, 36-31.
The third quarter was very competitive with neither team gaining any real advantage. Heading into the fourth quarter, Southridge’s lead was just one at 56-55. In that final period, Southridge found itself with a 63-59 lead with four minutes to play and decided to run some clock. The plan backfired as a couple of miscues led to Gibbons points. Down two with 1:45 to play, Gibbons’ 6’3 senior Ryan Grant connected from behind the arc to give the team a 64-63 lead. That was the start of an 8-0 Gibbons run as 6’5 junior M.J. Perrier converted a three point play and 6’0 senior Sam Vil connected on a pair of free throws with fourteen seconds left to make the score 69-63 in favor of Gibbons. Southridge still had life after 6’0 senior Rey Daniels drained a three with three seconds left, but Gibbons hit two free throws to put the game out of reach to win by the score of 71-66.
Perrier led Gibbons with 21 points while both Vil and Grant each finished with 16 points.
Southridge was led by Daniels with 23 points while 6’1 junior O’cien Valdes tallied 12 points as did 6’4 Deandre Hardy.
Game #5: South Plantation vs. Coral Springs Taravella
Much was expected from South Plantation and little from Taravella entering the contest. However, nobody told Taravella. The teams traded punches in a very even first quarter and after eight minutes, South Plantation led by one at 16-15. That lead didn’t last long. Taravella, behind the play of 5’10 junior Camden Fearon (pronounced “fear no one”), took lead in the second quarter and kept ahold of it until the break, leading 27-26.
South Plantation recaptured the lead at 31-29 midway through the third quarter and held a four point, 37-33 lead going into the final period of play. Taravella was still in the contest, down just five, 44-39 with four minutes to play but the squad was running out of gas. South Plantation, a more physical and experienced team, took advantage. They closed out the game on a 12-0 run winning by a much-closer-than-it-was score of 56-39.
Austin Howe, a 5’8 senior, lead South Plantation with 20 points, going 6-7 from behind the arc in the process. Lathan Coleman,6’5 added 13 points while 6’3 senior Harry Gelin added 10 points.
Fearon finished with 20 points for Taravella.
Game #6: Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas vs. Fort Lauderdale Stranahan
Early on, it looked like Aquinas was going to run away with this one. They led 8-0 after the first four minutes and 17-5 heading into the second quarter. It seemed like scoring was against the Stanahan Honor Code and the players didn’t want to disobey it. Aquinas led 25-15 with four minutes left in the second. That’s when Stranahan showed some life, hitting back-to-back threes and getting to with four points. In all, Stranahan outscored Aquinas 12-5 the last four minutes of the second period and it was just three-point game, 30-27, at the break.
The third quarter was seemingly a replay of the first. Aquinas grew a lead because Stranahan couldn’t make shots. Aquinas built its lead back to double digits by the end of the period and the score was 45-35. Stranahan scored the first five points of the fourth in less than a minute. That was the start of a 13-0 run and Stranahan took their first lead at 47-45 with 4:15 to play. Stranahan built its lead to five, at 53-48 when Aquinas completed a three-point play with 1:35 remaining. After a Stranahan turnover, Aquinas had a chance to tie the game with two foul shots but could only make one with 1:05 remaining. Aquinas had to try for steals and then foul to reach the five foul bonus limit and finally got there and put Stranahan on the line with eleven seconds left. Stranahan hit both to make it a three-point contest. Aquinas could not get a good look and Stranahan wins in a comeback, holding Aquinas to seven fourth quarter points and winning 55-52.
Stranahan was led by 6’4 senior Kaleb Jean St. Louis with 16 points. Esron Simeon, a 5’10 junior finished with 14 points while 6’3 sophomore Christian Yeargin added 12 points.
Aquinas was led by 6’0 freshman K.J Sandi with 14 points while 6’1 sophomore D.J. Sandi added 10 points as did 6’0 senior Matt Andreopoulos.