| Sports

Bucks, tigers headed to State

Posted on 28 February 2013 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The last time Deerfield Beach won a state title it defeated Blanche Ely in the 1999 championship game. Now, both teams, in different classes, have the same aspirations.

Blanche Ely, the defending Class 7A champion and top ranked team in the state, survived a scare and held on for a double overtime, 85-79 victory over visiting Palm Beach Lakes to advance to Lakeland for the state semifinals this week.

The Tigers are hopeful of becoming just the third team from Broward County to win back-to-back state championships on Saturday night.

Marcus Owens scored 17 points and pulled down 8 rebounds, while Joshua Huntley added 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Bucks (28-4), who will play the state’s fifth ranked Hagerty (Oviedo) squad in the state semifinal on March 1. It is the Bucks first trip to Lakeland since 1999 when it last won the state title.

Deerfield Beach coach Kenny Brown said the team learned a lot in its two losses to Blanche Ely down the stretch. Blanche Ely handed Deerfield Beach its only two losses in its past 10 years.

“Those losses taught us we have to play 32 minutes of Bucks basketball,” Brown said. “We learned that we had to come out and play tougher and play hard. This is a different team now. I know that defense wins championships, but I am an offensive guy and we work on shooting.” Blanche Ely needed to work overtime to punch its ticket to the state tournament in Lakeland – double overtime actually. The Tigers (25-1) will face Bartow in the Class 7A state semifinals next week at the Lakeland Center.

Richard Lee led the Tigers, who are ranked No. 18 in USA Today’s Super 25 national poll, in scoring with 22 points. Lance Tejada and Dallas Cameron scored 19 and 20 points, respectively, as Blanche Ely rallied from a 63-58 deficit with a little more than two minutes remaining. Khalil Thomas finished with 16 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks as the Tigers outscored Palm Beach Lakes, 11-2, in the second overtime.

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