Highlands captures titles

Posted on 26 March 2015 by L.Moore

SPORTS032615By Gary Curreri

Highlands Christian Academy’s (HCA) sports programs are proving that the future is now as three of its lower school sports team won South Atlantic Coast Conference (SACC) championships recently.

The girls elementary and junior high girls basketball teams were joined by the junior high boys soccer teams as titlists this year.

The girls’ elementary basketball team had an outstanding season finishing 5-1. The Knights squad is composed of 4th and 5th graders, and its lone loss of the season was to Abundant Life, who plays 6th graders on its team.

Brooke Vaccarro led the Knights in scoring and received the Outstanding Contribution Award as she scored 6 of the team’s 8 points in an 8-6 victory over Sheridan Hills in the SACC championship game. It was almost a repeat of the regular season where Highlands, with just four returning players from last season, defeated the Sharks, 7-6.

I am so proud of my Lady Knights,” said Leslie Shein, who is an alumnus of the school and in her second year as coach. “These girls worked hard, encouraged one another, had great sportsmanship, and finished strong. They practiced hard throughout the season and it paid off!”

The school’s junior high girls basketball program needed to work overtime; however, it also brought home a title.

After dispatching Zion Lutheran, 28-19, in its opening game of the SACC tournament, the Knights were pushed to overtime; however, it prevailed with a 26-23 victory over Sheridan Hills.

It was a very successful year for our team as we were able to achieve our goal of winning the SACC tournament,” said 5th year coach Scott Lassen, also an HCA graduate. “We had five returning 8th graders who were determined to win it all their final season.”

Seventh grader Raphael Menezes scored the lone goal of the game and fellow 7th grader Jason Thomfhorde recorded his fifth shutout of the season as Highlands Christian Academy blanked Coral Springs Christian, 1-0, for the boys’ junior high SACC title.

It was Menezes’ fourth goal of the season for the Knights, which went from third place in the league to first this year. The team finished the year 10-2.

I’ve seen a good amount of improvement in the quality of soccer,” said second year coach Daniel Mauro, whose father Darryl is the boys’ varsity coach. “I am very proud of my squad and the boys should be very proud of their achievements, but not satisfied; there is more to come from these guys.”

Kyle Coulson was named the team’s MVP and led the Knights with 10 goals and 6 assists. The Knights were the top seed going into the SACC Tournament and defeated Westminster Academy 4-2 to advance to the championship game.

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FLICKS: Queen and Country, PBiFF begins & Dan Aykroyd

Posted on 26 March 2015 by L.Moore

By Dave Montalbano

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Five-time Oscar bridesmaid, but never a bride, director John Boorman, has created indelible images on the big movie screen. He directed Lee Marvin in two savage movies, most notably Point Blank, which featured an all-star ensemble cast. Through the years, his visual acuity created both beautiful and nightmarish imagery in Deliverance, Excalibur and The Emerald Forest.

Released 28 years ago, Hope and Glory was his semi-autobiographic tale about his British childhood during the World War II blitzkrieg. Opening tomorrow is Queen and Country, which continues the adventures of Bill Rohan (Boorman’s alter ego) during the Korean War. While war is background theme to both movies, there is much humor in these films which present a character’s rite of passage. Queen and Country is Boorman’s big screen swan song, so expect an appropriate “goodbye” from a master craftsman.

The 20th Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBiFF) opens tonight with a red carpet screening of Welcome to Me at the Muvico Parisian 20 & IMAX at City Place in West Palm Beach. Saturday Night Live alumus Kristen Wiig (currently queen of independent film production) stars as a narcissist who suffers from a comical nervous breakdown. The cast includes Joan Cusack, Linda Cardellini, Tim Robbins and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

The Lost Key will be part of PBiFF’s “Jewish Experience,” which features an assortment of 35 international films from Germany, Hungary, France, Cuba and Bulgaria. Bulgarian Rhapsody is the country’s recent representative of the Oscar race. Israeli actor Udi Persi from 10% My Child will be spending the week in Palm Beach County.

If history is a good indicator, this year’s PBiFF should be a lot of fun with many surprise guests and memorable experiences. With the grand finale being held at the Cinemark Palace in Boca Raton, there is no excuse to miss! For further updates and information, please visit www.pbifilmfest.org.

Promoting his Crystal Head Vodka, Dan Aykroyd blew into town [March 20] as an energetic juggernaut. At ABC Liquors in Sunrise, Aykroyd was a human autograph machine as he signed vodka bottles, Ghostbusters and Blues Brothers memorabilia.

Blues History was made at Stache in Ft. Lauderdale when Aykroyd reunited on stage with South Florida resident and Blues Brother Matt “Guitar” Murphy for a mini reunion concert. The night was emotional and definitely defined the spirit of the Blues.

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CLERGY CORNER: The most influential person in human history

Posted on 26 March 2015 by L.Moore

Palm Sunday observances in churches around the world mark the beginning of Holy Week, the days leading up to and including Christ’s passion and death on a cross.

During this time of year, thousands of believers travel to Jerusalem to trace the footsteps of Jesus during the days leading to His crucifixion.

Those unable to make the journey overseas will celebrate in their churches with palm fronds, Good Friday observances, cantatas, plays and Resurrection Sunday services. This is the time of year where, despite doctrinal differences of faith traditions, Christians everywhere are unified in their recognition of the significance of this period.

I was thinking about this when I reflected upon Jesus’ influence some 2000 years after His crucifixion and resurrection. In fact, believers and unbelievers alike are being impacted by His life and teachings to this day.

A quick Google search revealed that Jesus consistently ranks at the top of surveys and determinations of the world’s most influential people. A few sites put others ahead of Him, Aristotle in one case and Mohammed in another, but the teacher from Galilee is consistently in the top rankings.

As a religious leader, Jesus was and is certainly influential, but evidence abounds that He has impacted other areas of society as well.

Nearly a third of the world’s population, 2 billion out of 7 billion people, identify themselves as followers of Jesus’ teachings. The Bible, which gives details of Jesus’ life and ministry, is consistently the most read book in the world, and a bestseller as well.

The teachings of Jesus have influenced our modern valuations of human life and dignity. In the ancient world, children were abandoned or sold into slavery. Early Christians were known to rescue newborn babies who had been left in Rome’s trash dumps. Jesus’ interaction with children, women, the sick and the poor revealed His estimation of their value. The first hospitals, orphanages and feeding programs came into being through Christians’ efforts to obey His instructions.

In the area of education, His influence is evident as well. Only the elite of the ancient world had access to education. The libraries of the monks inspired the first universities of the 12th and 13th centuries. Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard were formed originally as Christian institutions.

In America, the Puritans were the first to pass laws mandating the education of the masses, and biblical literacy was the emphasis of children’s reading texts for two hundred years. Science and Christianity seem to have a combustible relationship in the thought and discourse of many today.

It can be argued, however, that the Christian view of a rational God who is the source of rational truth inspired the possibility of scientific laws. Many of the founders of modern science were influenced by Christianity, including Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur and Blaise Pascal.

Time and space would not permit me to detail the influence of Jesus and Christianity upon our concepts of liberty, justice and equality, or upon art, literature, music, words, symbols, holidays, our calendar and a host of other areas of life that we may take for granted.

Whether or not one agrees that Jesus was the most influential figure in human history, it cannot be denied that He has had a remarkable impact on the world. His 3 1/2 years of ministry and teaching have touched countless lives on every continent and His influence is an ongoing reality throughout the world today.

May the power of His life and teachings inspire you this season and for all time.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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Baseball League starts next month

Posted on 19 March 2015 by L.Moore

SPORTS031915By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach’s Jim Eddy and Pompano Beach’s Alex Rodriguez may be foes on the field, but like many others in the Liberty Hardball Men’s Baseball League, based in Coral Springs, they enjoy the camaraderie and the competition.

Both men recently squared off for the championship and Eddy’s Cardinals’ team won its second consecutive championship over Rodriguez’s Yankees.

Eddy, 49, an athletic trainer at Highlands Christian Academy who also sells real estate, has played in the league for five years.

It is convenient for me because I live in Deerfield Beach,” said Eddy, the league’s most valuable player. “It keeps the competitive juices flowing. It makes you think back to when you could play like that every day. It helps relieve stress that you might go through during the week.”

The Cardinals, which went undefeated in winning the championship last year, won their fourth championship in the past six years and it marked the first time winning back-to-back titles.

The Cardinals finished last season 23-0 becoming the first men’s baseball team in any league in South Florida to ever finish a season undefeated as it swept the Cubs in the championship series. The Cardinals (21-6) also won titles in 2009, 2011 and 2013. It wasn’t easy this year as the Cardinals lost several players; however, they won 10 games in a row to close out the season and 11 of its last 12 contests.

A lot more teams were gunning for us this year, so they tried to stack their teams to take us out,” said Eddy, who batted .574 with 5 homeruns, 30 RBI and 41 runs scored. “That was nice. You get to my age and you need something to motivate you. You don’t have all of that adrenaline fl owing through you anymore and it kind of helps when there is a little chip on the other team’s shoulders.”

Yankees pitcher Alex Rodriguez, 32, has spent four seasons in the Sunday morning league. He likes that they play a 20-game season and then playoffs. Rodriguez, who played semipro baseball in Venezuela, and also pitched in college for Yacambu Universidad, has put off Tommy John surgery to keep playing.

When I played in college I used to throw 92 miles an hour,” said Rodriguez, who batted .414 with 4 HRS and 33 RBI. He also was 3-0 on the mound with a 6.40 ERA. “I would have to stop playing for a year. I don’t think it’s worth it. I can hit, but I can’t throw so much now. I hope to play until I am 40 or 45. I would like to be 60 and still play baseball, but I don’t know if I can get to that point.”

The league will kick off its new season on April 12 and Rodriguez, like most of the other players, enjoys the six-team league.

I love it,” Rodriguez said. “I love the fact that we start at 9 a.m. and we are usually done by 11:30 or noon and have the rest of the day to spend with our families.”

Ely gets national invite

As Yogi Berra coined with the phrase, “It’s never over until it’s over,” Blanche Ely’s boys and Dillard High School’s girls’ basketball teams were invited to play in the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National tournament next month.

Blanche Ely (28-0) won the Class 7A state championship earlier this month, a 72- 60 victory over Kissimmee Osceola. The Tigers became just the second Broward boys’ basketball team to finish as an undefeated state champ. It was Randall’s third title in four years at Blanche Ely and county record sixth overall in his career.

This will be the third trip for the Ely boys to the national tournament. The Tigers attended the nationals in 2012 and 2013. The boys and girls championship games will be played in Madison Square Garden on the April 5.

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FLICKS: 3 Hearts, Cinderella and PbiFF

Posted on 19 March 2015 by L.Moore

By Dave Montalbano

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

After screening at the 32nd Miami International Film Festival, 3 Hearts opens in limited South Florida release tomorrow. Marc (Benoît Poelvoorde) misses his train, but finds comfort with Sylvie (Charlotte Gainsbourg). After an intense experience, the two part ways. Marc settles in and develops a deeper relationship with Sophie (Chiara Mastroianni) with plans to marry. When meeting his future in-laws, including matriarch (Catherine Deneuve), Marc discovers that Sylvie and Sophie are sisters.

Nominated for numerous awards at the Venice and Lumiere Film Festivals, 3 Hearts is a French Film with English subtitles and features the plot device of a romantic triangle. With the cinematic legacy of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Catherine Deneuve, this film reveals that French storytelling is consistently modern.

It was French scholar Charles Perrault who penned European folk tales and crafted what we now know as the fairy tale Cinderella a.k.a. The Glass Slipper. As recent box office figures have revealed, this tale of love, romance and service has struck a chord with modern audiences.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet, Thor), the audience retraces the narrative about how Ella (Lily James) became “Cinderella.” We meet her adorable parents (Ben Chaplin and Hayley Atwell, who was in Agent Carter) who teach their daughter that it is important to have the “courage to be kind.”

These life lessons go into effect when Ella’s parents die. A wicked stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her sinister sisters (Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger) have Ella clean the furnace and she gets covered with “Cinders.” Considered “too dirty” to attend the Prince’s ball, Ella meets her Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) who gives the heroine a makeover. By now, one should figure out the rest of the plot.

Cinderella deserves its success. Kenneth Branagh makes the sugary romance palatable, the characters are not overblown and the actors ensemble chooses restraint. This film can best be summed up in one scene – Ella’s “walk of shame” — because it is a beautiful moment due to the heroine’s pure motives.

Next week, the Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBiFF) celebrates 20 years with appearances from Tom Arnold, Ellar Coltrane and others, and music provided by TK Records, who has a South Florida connection with K.C. and the Sunshine Band. At this international festival, keep an eye out for The Lost Key, a Spanish documentary about a Rabbi who talks about intimacy, lust and love.

www.pbifilmfest.org.

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CLERGY CORNER: Pass it over – pass it on

Posted on 19 March 2015 by L.Moore

This Friday is the first day of Spring and this Saturday is the first day of the Hebrew month of Nissan. Now is the time that we start our spring cleaning as we begin to prepare our homes for the Festival of Passover.

As we sit at our Seder tables, we will retell the story of our Exodus from slavery to freedom. Notice that I did not say that we will retell the story of our ancestors being slaves in Egypt, but rather that we will remember when we were slaves, as each of us is obligated on Pesach to talk about our personal deliverance from whatever has enslaved or oppressed us.

During the Seder, there is a moment when we follow a practice of the great Sage, Hillel, who was known to combine a piece of Matzah, the flat unleavened bread that we had to eat in our haste to leave Egypt, with Charoset and Maror.

This matzah was known as the bread of poverty. But as we got a taste of the freedom to observe our faith, that very same bread became the bread of freedom. And just as we shared that bread with each other in ancient days, we continue to share it to this very day.

But there is something else that we share during the Seder. We share the Maror, the bitter herbs that represent the bitterness of slavery. So why on earth did Hillel combine the two together? Why put the bitterness of slavery and the joy of freedom into one bite?

Perhaps we find the answer in the Haggadah itself. Each of us has tasted from the cup of bitterness and from the cup of freedom. And, since we have known both, there are a couple things we need to remember right off the bat.

First, in times of freedom, we must do what we can to help those who are enslaved or oppressed, as we know all too well what that horror is like. And second, in the times that we feel enslaved or oppressed, we must do whatever we are able to do in order to achieve freedom again. We must not give into despair; we must not give up hope. Indeed, the National Anthem of the Holy Land of Eretz Yisrael is “Hatikvah” which means “The Hope.”

Spring is a time of great hope. And, as it approaches, people often pray to get a little Spring back into their step. Even when death is approaching, faith and hope can most certainly make a difference.

Take for example Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame. Let me share with you two of his final tweets and, remember, he knew that he was nearing the end of his days as he wrote these messages.

The first said, “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory;” and then there was what I believe was his final tweet, which read, “So grateful for blessings, Wish the same to all.”

And then there was the recent Op-Ed by Oliver Sacks in The New York Times as he reflected on his most recent bout with cancer, which is so advanced that there is little if anything that can be done. He wrote, “…my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return … above all, I have been a sentient being … on this beautiful planet, and that, in itself, has been an enormous privilege and adventure.”

Spring is here. Be grateful for the many freedoms you have and make your life a loving adventure. And, while you are at it, be sure to give something back.

Passover is coming. May all who are enslaved hold onto their hope and may we do whatever we are able to bring them to freedom. With G-d’s help, speedily in our day … and let us all say, Amen.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 S. Military Tr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442). Regular Shabbat services are open to everyone on Saturday mornings from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

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Honda Classic Golf Tournament

Posted on 12 March 2015 by L.Moore

sports031215By Sandy Johnson

The Honda Classic Golf Tournament at PGA National Resort and Spa brings excitement, great golf and a major financial impact on our area every year. Last year alone, the Classic awarded a record $2.55 million in charitable contributions! This went to 136 organizations, with the Jack Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation the primary benefactor. Much of the reason for this is the amazing number of volunteers who donate thousands of hours of their time to keep the tournament running smoothly. All of these volunteers wouldn’t be effective without the organization of Jim Coleman, who has been the Volunteer Chairperson for many years.

Working close by his side is his 19-year-old daughter Samantha. Sammy has been at this since she was 6 years old. She has been everything from a standard bearer to a caddy bib distributor, to her current position as her Dad’s right hand “man.” This year, she had the added chore of helping to direct people to safety when a massive storm with pouring rain came through on Saturday, forcing everyone off the course and out of all the hospitality suites. Every person had to be relocated into the main clubhouse, which was the only safe, permanent structure. Sammy calmly took on this unexpected task. She not only volunteers with her dad at the Honda, but also the Allianz, Doral, ADT and other local events. When she was still in high school, she had so many thousands of service hours that she just stopped counting. The best part of all this is the fact that she is now in college at Palm Beach State studying Business Management and then is transferring to Florida Gulf University where she will get her degree in PGA Golf Management.

Asked about her favorite moments, she said it was when senior player Chi Chi Rodriquez insisted that she ride in the cart with him, instead of walking with the standard. He then autographed his name card, which she framed and still has hanging in her room. She also loved it when Ben Crane, a current player with a huge following (of the younger set due to his Golf Boys video that he has made with three of the other young golfers), asked her if she would pose for a picture with him.

Sammy was on the Honda course on Monday when the delayed tournament continued and ended up with the exciting playoff between Padraig Harrington from Ireland and a PGA rookie local boy Daniel Berger from Jupiter. Padraig won on the second playoff, but it made for a nail biting ending with all of Daniel’s family there cheering him on.

An interesting side note on the tournament was some of the consequences of the massive rain storm. When the crew went out to try and get everything back in shape for the next day, they had to contend with chasing alligators and water moccasin snakes that were now on the course! Saturday was cancelled and Sunday tee times were delayed. It was a massive undertaking for Chairman Jim and Sammy to contact and reschedule all the volunteers for the new times and also the extra day that had to be added on. They took it in stride and all went perfectly.

Perhaps the best quote of the tournament came from Lukus Harvey, director of PGA National agronomy, when asked how in the world his staff managed working all day and night to get the course ready to play again by Sunday afternoon — “It is only stressful if you make it that way!” That’s an adage for all of us to live by!

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FLICKS: Chappie, Eva & The Lovers

Posted on 12 March 2015 by L.Moore

By Dave Montalbano

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

After viewing the last of the Academy Award Best Picture nominations, I thought it was time to take a break from the “serious” fare and view pure “escapist” entertainment like Chappie, featuring Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman and acclaimed director Neill Bomkamp.

How could a film about science fiction robots fail?

While it does not quite fail, it does not succeed either.

Somewhere in the not-too-distant-future, robots have become the police force of Johannesburg, South Africa. Due to aggressive police policies, crime is minimal. However, there are a bunch of low intelligence thugs that like to steal money and create havoc. During a routine raid, a robot is shot down.

Enter Deon Wilson (Dev Patel), a genius inventor who seeks to make the robots more autonomous with his gifted software. Enter Arch Rival Vincent (Hugh Jackman) who has created a behemoth robot that relies on human communication. Enter boss Michelle Bradley (Sigourney Weaver) who only seeks a profit in selling low cost protectors of society.

Had Bradley not scrimped on the security budget, she would have noticed the criminal activities of Vincent and Deon. Eventually, Deon inserts his lifegiving software to the slain robot and “Chappie” is born. Chappie, who is kidnapped by South African gangsters, [portrayed by Ninja and Yolandi of the rap-rave group Die Antwoord] becomes acclimated to their culture and speaks their lingo.

Chappie is cute, but suffers from too many story logic flaws. It is also a movie that distracts you and makes you think of other science fiction movies like Wall-E, X-Men, Alien and Blomkamp’s Oscar-nominated science fiction flick District 9. Too bad, but the film is open-ended enough for a sequel.

This Friday the 13th features the opening of two new movies.

Eva is the recipient of 3 Goya Awards, Spain’s version of the academy awards. Like Chappie, it deals with robotics, but it also deals with human expression and emotions.

Sans robots, The Lovers is Roland Joffe’s return to prestige from his triumphs three decades ago with films like The Killing Fields and The Mission. Josh Hartnett is a marine biologist who travels from India to the Caribbean in the 18th century. This film also includes Bollywood Idol Bipasha Basu in her international film debut.

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CLERGY CORNER: Dream

Posted on 12 March 2015 by L.Moore

Dream the impossible dream. Whenever I hear that song, I cannot help but think that with God all things are possible. We all have dreams and hopes that we want to see happen in our lives. Even dreams that come from God seem impossible at first. However, do not forget that all things are possible with God.

DEUTERONOMY 31:8

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

NLT

When you feel discouraged, take heart: God’s promise to never leave you or abandon you is always there to get you through your troubles. Why is it that we tend to turn to Him as the last resort when He is always faithfully by our side? Are you afraid of your future? Are you afraid to go after your dreams? Are you afraid to believe that you can achieve your dreams? Do you ever feel lonely? Do you ever feel like what you are going through, you are going through it alone? Do you ever feel like you were stuck in a pit with no way out? Reread the above verse, Deuteronomy 31:8. What does this verse do to your fears or feelings of loneliness? Read Psalm 23 and let it encourage you in times of trouble! Take a fresh look at this famous Psalm and be comforted that God has walked with you, not only during the good times, but through your bad times as well. Do you ever feel like you are in a pit and your dreams have no chance of ever coming true? Always remember that the dream never dies, just the dreamer. Remember that God is always with you leading you and guiding you, and protecting you. You are never alone. Don’t quit when you’re in the pit. You only lose if you quit. Don’t be afraid to dream the impossible dream and live each day to accomplish it. Continually encourage yourself with the Word of God. Does it remind us of an awesome poem we might have read before?

Footprints” poem

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him, and he questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, You said that once I decided to follow You, You’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You most, You would leave me.” The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

-Author Unknown

Even when we do not think God is there with us – He is! Be encouraged today and keep believing. Pastor Tony Guadagnino

Tony Guadagnino is the pastor at Christian Love Fellowship Church, 801 SE 10 St., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more info., call 954-428- 8980 or visit www.clfministries.org.

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Ely wins state title

Posted on 05 March 2015 by L.Moore

sports030515By Gary Curreri

All season long, Blanche Ely boys basketball coach Melvin Randall thought he had a special team.

He was right. The Tigers won the Class 7A state title with a 72-60 victory over Kissimmee Osceola in the Class 7A state championship at The Lakeland Center on Saturday and continued to make history.

Ely (28-0), ranked No. 5 in the nation by USA Today, won its fifth state title overall and third in the past four seasons. It is the school’s fourth title since 2007.

I can’t say they are one of the top (teams at the school),” said Blanche Ely coach Melvin Randall. “They are the top!”

Blanche Ely is ranked the highest it ever has been in school history and became the first by a Broward County public school and second in county history following Sagemont’s undefeated run last season. It is the first time the Tigers finished the year undefeated.

It wasn’t a pushover schedule that we had,” said Randall, who also won state titles in 1997 with Deerfield (Class 5A) ,and his win in 1999 (Class 6A) came at the expense of his current school Ely, 77-69. After moving over to Ely, Randall won state titles in 2007 (Class 6A), 2012 (Class 7A) and 2013 (Class 7A).

We played some teams that really pushed us,” added Randall, whose previous high national ranking was 12th in the country in 2013. “The way this team played is surprising because when you are ranked that high in the country, you are looking to have maybe four or five Division 1 players or Top-100 players on the team, which we don’t have. These kids played with a lot of heart and played together. They enjoyed playing with one another and that is what makes it good. For the most part, they listen.”

The Tigers are now tied with Ft. Lauderdale Dillard for the most state titles by a Broward County school.

Blanche Ely opened the game on a 7-0 run and led 13-2 at one point. The team stretched the lead to 13 before Osceola (26-6) clawed its way back to grab a 39-38 advantage with 4:25 left in the third quarter.

Senior Therrell Gosier Jr., who was a part of Ely’s two state championship teams as a freshman and sophomore, helped the Tigers erase that brief deficit and closed the game out with 20 of his 27 points in the second half. He also had eight rebounds.

Senior Laquincy Rideau had another balanced effort with 10 points, six assists, six rebounds and five steals, while senior guard Javon Heastie scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half. Randall said he is hopeful of a bid to the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Invitational in April in New York.

Randall said the “formula” to being successful was a simple one.

I take it as a blessing,” Randall said. “I learned from the best – Greg Samuels, Butch Ingram, John Keister, Wade Edmonds, and I have a little bit of them in me, and I really studied them and took notes. I want to win with class and that is what is taught here. You can win, but we teach our kids the right way; they win with class.”

Randall said there is another thing on his bucket list that he would like to accomplish.

I never met Louise Crocco from Cardinal Gibbons and I know it is another sport, but she has won championships and I wanted to know what she is doing,” Randall said referring to the volleyball coaching legend, which amassed 1,132 victories and 18 state championships in a stellar 40-year career. “I never had a chance to meet her, but I will.”

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