After taking a 19-point lead midway through the first quarter, extending that lead to 22 points late in the third quarter, Miramar narrowly survived a feverish rally from visiting North Miami Tuesday night – with the Patriots holding on to capture a 68-64 victory in the region 4-9A semifinals.
Miramar (26-3), which will host South Miami in Friday’s region 4-9A final, saw its 51-31 lead at the end of the third quarter evaporate over the final eight minutes. North Miami began working its way back into the game by turning on a full-court press, creating turnovers and scoring opportunities.
The Pioneers cut their deficit to 61-54 with two-and-a-half minutes left in the game – after back to back threes from Carlos Hart – and got as close as 67-64 with 13 seconds left.
North Miami did have a shot at completing what would’ve been an epic comeback, after Hart stole Miramar’s inbound pass with 13 seconds left. Hart, right under his own basket, tried to draw contact while attempting a reverse layup but did not garner a call from the officials as his shot only hit the backboard before Miramar’s Chevel Mills gobbled up the rebound and was fouled.
Mills sank one of his two free throws – giving the Patriots their final 68-64 lead with just three seconds remaining.
Miramar third-year head coach Tremaine Stevens, who met with his team at midcourt right after the game and appeared to admonish the players for their fourth quarter performance, said that he was ultimately happy with the win.
“Obviously we weren’t happy with our performance tonight…but all that matters at this point of the year is wins,” Stevens said. “I credit our seniors for stepping up and hitting clutch free throws in the fourth quarter – we’ve been relying on those guys to make plays all year. But we have to do a better job of executing and not turning the ball in late-game situations.”
Turnovers hurt Miramar, but it also seemed that the Patriots stopped playing with the same vigor that allowed them to take a 21-2 lead in the first quarter and open as big as a 49-27 lead during the third quarter.
Senior guard Jamir Moore powered Miramar’s opening salvo – knocking down three three-pointers in the first four minutes of the game. Senior Damian Miller also chipped in a pair of shots from long range as the Patriots were 7-for-11 from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 from behind the arc in the first quarter.
The Patriots’ performance waned after for the remainder of the game. Miramar didn’t connect on any of its three-point attempts after the first quarter, only had two total assists after halftime, and committed 13 turnovers in the second half.
Still, Moore finished with a team-high 22 points (knocking down 7-of-8 second-half free throw attempts); senior Immanuel Crump finished with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter; Miller added 10 points while Mills scored six points and grabbed eight boards.
North Miami’s slow start could’ve been attributed to the unfortunate circumstances that led to the team’s bus not arriving at Miramar until 6:40 p.m. – just 20 minutes before tipoff.
The Pioneers, who defeated Miramar 100-64 this past year in the regional quarterfinals, shot just 28 percent (7 for 25) from the field and 25 percent (2 for 8) from the free throw line in the first half – which led to a 33-18 halftime lead for the Patriots.
North Miami head coach Raynald Benoit said his team dug too deep of a hole early in the game.
“We got punched in the mouth early,” the second-year coach said. “Miramar got off to a fast start and we had to spend the rest of the game trying to work our way back. A couple of calls could’ve gone either way late in the game that may have changed things, but we didn’t do ourselves any favors with our performance early on. Hats off to [Miramar]…the better team won tonight.”
The Pioneers (22-6) scored 33 points in the final eight minutes – a far cry better than the 31 they scored in the first 24 minutes. Donte Innocent came off the bench to lead North Miami in scoring, notching a game-high 24 points – going 7-of-14 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Carlos Hart scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half while Victor Hart added 11 points.
Region 4-9A Semifinals: Miramar 68, North Miami 64 – NM (22-6): Innocent 24, C. Hart 18, V. Hart 11, Guillaume 9, Laurent 2. MIR (26-3): Moore 22, Crump 14, Miller 10, Brent Davis 9, Mills 6, Bryan Davis 5, Spaulding 2. Halftime: MIR 33-18. Three-pointers: Moore 3, C. Hart 3, Miller 2, Innocent 2, Guillaume, V. Hart. Fouled Out: Crump. Technical Fouls: None. Rebounds: Crump 12. Assists: Mills 4. Steals: 2 tied 2. Blocks: Crump 3.
Doral Academy Upends Norland
Led by senior Miguel Ayesa’s 27 points and seven rebounds, Doral Academy went on the road and knocked off perennial Miami-Dade County powerhouse Miami Norland 51-40 Tuesday night in the region 4-7A semifinal.
Ayesa, who led the Firebirds in scoring in their regional quarterfinals win also, drained seven three-pointers Tuesday – propelling Doral Academy to the regional final where it will face Oakland Park Northeast on Friday.
Norland, which had won four consecutive Class 6A (now Class 7A) championships from 2012 to 2015, takes a step back in terms of the length of its playoff run – falling in the second round this year after being knocked in the regional final (by Dillard) in 2016 and 2017.
The Firebirds (29-2) made the most of Ayesa’s hot shooting by also playing lockdown defense. Doral jumped out to a seven-point lead at the end of the first quarter and pushed that lead out to 26-12 at halftime thanks to holding the Vikings to just five second-quarter points.
Norland made a push in the third quarter – scoring 13 unanswered points to pull within seven of the Firebirds – but Doral Academy made timely shots and free throws to keep the Vikings at bay during the fourth.
Region 4-7A Semifinal: Doral Academy 51, Norland 40 – DA (29-2): Ayesa 27, R. Perez 11, Nunez 9, K. Perez 4. NOR (21-7): Toussaint 13, Gatlin 9, Rolle 7, Brown 7, Moss 3, Henderson 3. Halftime: DA 26-12. Three-pointers: Ayesa 7, Rolle 2, Moss, R. Perez, Nunez. Rebounds: Ayesa 7. Assists: K. Perez 4. Steals: R. Perez 3.
U-School Tops Calvary Christian
University School continued its dominant run through South Florida – easily knocking off defending Class 5A state champion Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian 59-38 Tuesday night in the region 4-5A regional semifinals.
Vernon Carey Jr., the son of former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Vernon Carey, led the way with 18 points for the Sharks (28-1) – who are ranked No. 3 by USA Today and No. 4 by Max Preps.
Tuesday’s victory was the third time this season that the Sharks dropped the hammer on Calvary Christian (15-13). The Sharks, who will face Miami Booker T. Washington in Friday’s region 4-5A final, defeated the Eagles by a combined 58 points in the three meetings.
Scottie Barnes added 11 points for U-School, while Calvary Christian got a game-high 19 points from Solomon Uyaelunmo.
Region 4-5A Semifinal: University School 59, Calvary Christian 38 – CALC (15-13): Uyaelunmo 19, Garey 5, Glenn 4, Dalger 4, Doane 3, Tovar 2, Fairweather 1. US (28-1): Carey Jr. 18, Barnes 11, Doomes 10, Alters 8, Drinnon 4, Flowers 2, Renaud 2, Acosta 2, Sanguinetti 2. Halftime: US 22-19. Three-pointers: Alters 2, Carey Jr., Garey, Doomes.
Region 3-9A Semifinal – Deerfield Beach 68, Coral Springs 51
Region 4-9A Semifinal – South Miami 47, Southwest Miami 33
Region 4-8A Semifinal – Blanche Ely 65, Palm Beach Dwyer 50
Region 4-8A Semifinal – McArthur 62, Mater Academy 58
Region 4-7A Semifinal – Northeast 68, Boyd Anderson 60
Region 4-6A Semifinal – Stranahan 67, Riviera Beach Suncoast 63
Region 4-5A Semifinal – Booker T. Washington 57, Gulliver Prep 56
Region 4-4A Final – Miami SLAM Academy 67, Florida Christian 54
Region 3-4A Final – Westminster Academy 97, Palm Beach Benjamin 61
Region 4-3A Final – Fort Lauderdale Somerset Prep 74, Champagnat 65
Region 4-2A Final – Miami Christian 76, Miami Schoolhouse Prep 41