Bucks hope for state title

Posted on 21 February 2013 by LeslieM

Pages 09-16By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach High boys’ basketball coach Kenny Brown believes this could be the best team he has had in his five years at the school.

“I think this year’s team compares favorably to the teams we’ve had in the past,” said Brown, whose team defeated Cypress Bay, 54-34, behind Marcus Owens’ game-high 21 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals in the regional semifinal on Tuesday night. “I think this year’s team is deeper. We have a sense of urgency because these guys are seniors. Many of them have been on varsity for all four years. It’s been a long time coming. They deserve what they can get.”

The Bucks (27-4) are the top-ranked Class 8A team in the state and are hoping to reach the state final four. The team lost in the regional final last year to Spanish River, 67-61. Until then, Deerfield Beach hadn’t reached the state series since 2004.

“It hurt immensely,” said Brown, whose team will host Jupiter on Saturday night in the regional final. “It hurt a lot, but at the same time, we used it as a learning experience of what it takes to get to where we want to get to. We know this is a small stepping stone to where we are trying to get. I can always reference back to last year and say if you don’t like that feeling, make sure you do everything you need to do.”

The Bucks are hopeful of winning a state title they first won in 1997.

They won again in 1999 under then coach Melvin Randall, who now coaches at Blanche Ely and led the Tigers to the Class 7A championship last season.

Two of Deerfield Beach’s four losses this season were to Blanche Ely, another was a loss to Sagemont and the fourth was a 5-point defeat to Ballard (KY) in the Kingdom of the Sun holiday tournament in Ocala.

“This is fun, but we want more,” said senior guard Terence Johnson, who leads the team with 17.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. “We want the state championship. The seniors know this is our last year so we are more hungry because we want to go out on top. There isn’t really any pressure. We know we are the favorites and we don’t want to let anybody down, especially ourselves so we are going to try and win it all.”

The Bucks have also received solid performances this season from senior guard Owens (16.1 points, 6.2 RB), senior center/ power forward Joshua Huntley (7.2 points, 7.8 RB), junior guard Vanderbilt Carpenter (9.4 points, 6.1 assists) and senior small forward Javaris Jenkins (9.4 points, 7.3 RB).

“I think we are good enough to be a state championship team,” Owens said. “We just have to play hard and have no let ups. We have to play 32 minutes of Bucks basketball.”

Brown said playing a team like Blanche Ely this season is a benefit.

“Those games definitely helped us down the road,” Brown said. “The competition level … the intensity … the amount of focus you need the entire game. There was no let up.”

Brown smiled when asked if they could win a state championship. “Stay tuned!” he said.

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